I remember being blown away when I first found out about the amazing contribution that Local Groups make to the RSPB. Local Groups are spread all across the UK, working in their local areas to promote and support the work of the RSPB. I’m always impressed by how much a group of like-minded people can achieve through working together to support nature conservation. Local Groups organise events, talks and field trips for people in their local area, and raise money through fundraising activities and selling RSPB products as well as lots of other stuff. All this work makes a real difference to the RSPB and their local communities.
So why would you want to get involved with your RSPB Local Group? Jenny Curtis saw an advert for Deputy Group Leader with Grimsby Local Group on the RSPB website four years ago and decided to take up the challenge:
“I’d never been to a local group before, so I have to say I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Would everyone be bird-mad? Would my general ignorance about bird spotting be a hindrance? Would I be made welcome in a group which didn’t know me? I soon found out the answers (probably, no, and yes)!
When our Group Leader decided to stand down, it was my turn to step up! By then, I’d got to know people (and what friendly people RSPB members are) and felt confident enough to lead the group myself. With my amazing committee behind me, I was able to concentrate on co-ordinating all the activity, answering queries from the public, leading committee and group meetings and so on. As with any organisation, there are ups and downs; but unlike many other organisations I’ve worked with, there is always someone to turn to for help.”
Are you feeling inspired? There are lots of different ways to get involved with your Local Group, either by attending meetings and outings, joining as a member or becoming part of the committee. There are a wide variety roles available on Local Group Committees – see this list for a taster:
Barbara and Len Murray are Joint Newsletter Editors for Wakefield Local Group, and have found the experience both challenging and enjoyable:
“One of the rewards of being involved in the Local Group is having some say in how the group is run as well as enjoying leading meetings and giving the vote of thanks. Taking on the newsletter editorship has made me much more aware of all kinds of information which is available either in hard copy or online about many aspects of nature conservation. I now comb all the publications we receive to highlight items which might interest our readers and, coincidentally, this increases my own knowledge. One challenge has been to improve my computer skills – would you believe I didn’t even know what a PDF was when my husband and I took on this task in 2006!”
If you want to find out more about what Local Groups are doing in your area, then have a look on our website . Local Groups across the country are looking for people passionate about nature conservation to get involved on their committees, so have a look and see how you can make a difference.
I’ll let Jenny Curtis have the final word: “So, why join a local group (whether on the committee or otherwise)? Well, most of all it is getting to know a great bunch of people who are as keen and knowledgeable about birds, their habitats and the work of the RSPB as you are. Listening to speakers at indoor meetings, going on outings to great reserves, sharing tea and biscuits and all the time knowing that all these activities are going towards furthering the work of the RSPB as a whole is very satisfying as well as enjoyable. Would I recommend getting involved in a local group? Yes, definitely!”