Following on from my last blog, I thought it would be interesting to hear how it was for a couple of our volunteers. Do you use your professional skills for us or another organisation, if so, leave me a comment and share with what you do, and how you feel about it.
Phillip Plummer writes: During a period of time between jobs I came across a vacancy on the RSPB website for a volunteer with procurement experience, to undertake a procurement analysis exercise. A report of the recommendations and findings would be passed to the Management Board. My career is in procurement and this role would combine two of my interests, enabling me to use my skills as a Buyer as well as volunteering for the RSPB. I applied and was thrilled to be accepted.
I volunteered two days a week working in the Finance Department and was given the full support and backing at management and director level. From day one I was treated as a full time member of staff, it was a most satisfying and enjoyable experience.
I looked forward to my visits with the aim of doing all I could to assist the RSPB to reduce costs within its Purchasing functions. All the RSPB’s staff were brilliant, making me feel welcome from day one and treating me as part of their team. I was even given the opportunity to visit any department to talk to any member of staff. Not just at the head office in Sandy but at regional offices and reserves. I quickly realised how dedicated and professional the RSPB staff were, it was a pleasure working with them. They were already looking at ways of reducing purchasing costs and had implemented or were implementing new ways of working. In some ways i was learning from them.
Any volunteering role for the RSPB is a wonderful experience not to forget, I would recommend it highly. For those who have retired, are between jobs or have the time then there are an abundance of ways you can use your professional skills to help the RSPB. Any skills you have are always welcomed and you are working with like minded professionals who appreciate your knowledge and experience.
For me it is about giving my time and experience to a charity that relies greatly upon the help of volunteers to help out in so many aspects of its work. In return I am with like minded people who care for birds and nature.
During my time at The Lodge I met and worked with many other volunteers helping the RSPB in so many different ways.
I would certainly do it again!"
Dr. Ajaz Sheikh, a GP from our medical panel says: It gives me enormous satisfaction to know that my professional knowledge could be of any benefit to the good nature people who volunteer for such noble cause as the RSPB's conservation work.
So are you interested? Do you want to know more? Here are the some of the existing roles and the volunteers that undertake them ....
In our Eastern England region we have:
Ian Shakespeare who is a Fire Safety Advisor His line manager, Dave Bingham said about this about him: Ian has visited several sites to advise on fire safety in this region and more widely around other regions. He also attended one of our national meetings and commented on our fire safety CoP. He offers valuable professional advice in specialist areas. The professional support we get isn’t about time but value because we couldn’t afford to buy in this level of advice.
Ian says: I was a fire-fighter for 32 years and since my retirement 7 years ago have been working as a specialist consultant in the UK fire industry. I have been an RSPB volunteer for over 7 years and feel that this enables me to give ‘something back’ specifically to the Society and indirectly to the world of nature. It enables me to use my skills as a specialist fire consultant to give advice to enable the Society to save hard earned monies which in turn enables them to utilise these monies directly to benefit to nature. It is often possible to safely meet UK fire regulations without spending vast amounts of money as some fire industry contractors would have you believe! It also enables me to visit some beautiful places and without exception RSPB people are very nice people indeed!
Glenn Davies who is a Health & Safety Advisor, Dave said this about him: Glenn has advised on asbestos issues and joined us at a national H&S meeting to discuss asbestos management. He also gets samples analysed for us. He also assisted me in producing a manual handling presentation for delivery at site level. Glenn also commented on our draft asbestos management CoP.
Glen says: Having worked for many years in industry as a Health and Safety professional, it has been a fantastic experience using my knowledge and skills to help the RSPB. As a former ‘YOC’ member many years ago, it felt like a privilege to give something back. My work for the RSPB includes the development of a short, half hour, manual handling training programme for the Reserve Managers to use when inducting new short term volunteers or part time shop assistants. Further contributions include advice and sampling service for asbestos related issues with buildings or groundwork’s. Working as a volunteer for the RSPB has been a very enjoyable and satisfying experience and only wish my current work/lifestyle would allow me to do more, but remember, any contribution large or small will be greatly appreciated.
At The Lodge, the UK Headquarters we have:
Adele Jagucki says, I am a volunteer physiotherapist on the Medical Advisory Panel. Whenever a volunteer applies for a post at the RSPB with a medical condition or on complex medication, I receive an email asking for my opinion on whether it is safe for that person to carry out that particular role that they have applied for. I also give advice on what adjustments can be made, or what precautions to take. I undertake this role, as I would like to ensure anyone is not disadvantaged from undertaking volunteering because of a medical condition, or medication, if I can give advice to enable them to undertake the role. The conservation work that the RSPB undertakes is very important to me, and I feel privileged to be able to help the organisation in any way possible.
Philip Plummer who was volunteering as Procurement Advisor: We were looking for someone with procurement experience to undertake a procurement analysis exercise. Maybe having worked for an organisation in a role that encompasses purchasing, contract and supplier management.
The RSPB has a network of over 200 nature reserves, 20 regional and country offices.. Whilst we encourage staff to support the local communities in which they work, we also seek to maximise our purchasing power and minimise the administrative burden of managing numerous suppliers. We have limited centralised purchasing at the UK Headquarters and were seeking help to analyse current procurement practice and identify where cost or efficiency improvements can be made. A report on the findings and recommendations was made to our Management Board.
Graffiti-light birds promote fun run. Sally Fisher, Grants Officer, is managing the fun run in her spare time. The graffiti-light birds is just one of the ways she is raising awareness of the run to encourage more participants.
Near the end of March, a group of volunteers gathered on the beach in Edinburgh to paint birds using torches as brushes and the darkness as a canvas.
The unique image was captured using slow exposure photography, to promote the upcoming Flight of Fancy five kilometre fun run.
Our Midland Region has the following:
At Langford we have a volunteer, Dave Watt, who is a trained cabinet maker and has done lots of woodworking jobs for us using his skills. He has built us a custom-made tool storage rack, display boards for interpretation at our viewing screen, a binocular storage box for our 15 pairs of binoculars that are used on guided walks and is soon to start on a project to build a table and benches in our newly-renovated beach hut which will provide a base for volunteers and somewhere to meet and greet the public on guided walks.
We also have two volunteers, John Ellis and Julie Straw, who do a lot of bird survey work for us, they are specialist birders with very detailed knowledge. They contribute to the annual Breeding Bird Survey, getting out on site early in the morning and mapping all the birds they see and hear during their visit and help with the monthly Wetland Bird Survey, which involves counting and recording all the wetland birds that use the site. This requires a lot of bird identification skill by both sight and sound.
So you want to get involved and step up for nature, then visit www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering and find out more!
In honour of the RSPB’s Big Yellow Fundraising Buckets, I’m writing a list of 101 Things to Do with a Bucket and I want your suggestions. Share them by posting a comment or Twittter #101buckets . Tweet me directly @RSPBMidlands
It’s been a busy week of buckets. I’ve had lots of suggestions coming in for 101 Things to Do with Bucket. How about carving the bottom of the bucket off and turning it into a handsome, yellow lampshade? Now there’s a bright idea…
Another bright idea is volunteering for the RSPB. In the past week, I’ve also heard from a fabulous 30 people who have offered to help during Love Nature Week in the Midlands alone. And undoubtedly there are more of your out there who want to get involved!
You can also use your lampshade - sorry I mean - bucket to step up for nature by taking part in your local Love Nature Week fundraising collection. Love Nature Week is the RSPB’s biggest annual fundraising event. This year is takes place from 26 May to 3 June. Find out more here: www.rspb.org.uk/bucketcollections
To find out more about volunteering for the RSPB, visit: www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering
Following on from the DIY super-sized Bird Feeder. Here’s how to make your very own Bucket Easter Egg…
One Easter many, many moons ago my Biggest Brother made his own Easter eggs by filling special demi-egg moulds with delicious melted chocolate. I’m not sure where he got these moulds from, but I’m fairly sure that you could use a bucket instead. It would be a funny old bird that would spawn such a gigantic egg. But if you’re going to make a chocolate egg from scratch – you might as well make it a super-sized on right?
You will need:
2 x buckets
Kgs x delicious chocolate
1 x ribbon
How to make:
Steps 1: Take massive bar of chocolate and break into squares. Melt. Spread the chocolate equally inside the bucket. Leave to cool.
Step 2: Pop out the bucket mould. Melt more chocolate and use to weld the two halves together.
Step 3: Decorate with colourful ribbon to disguise the ugly mess you made when welding.
Step 4: Eat.
Once you’ve finished with your chocolate egg moulds, you can also use your bucket to help save nature. Take part in your local Love Nature Week fundraising collection and you’ll be helping to save nature on your doorstep. Find out more here: www.rspb.org.uk/bucketcollections
Got an idea for what to do with a bucket? Post a comment or tweet #101buckets
101 Things to Do with a Bucket: How to make a super-sized fat feeder
It wouldn’t be a British bank holiday without a good bit of British weather – showers, low temperatures, cloud, more showers, ooh – 5 minutes of sunshine, then drizzle, and perhaps a bit of heavy rain. So rather than a stomp around the outdoors, it looks like this joyful Easter bank holiday will be a largely indoor affair. Why not keep yourself entertained by making this super-sized fat feeder?
You will need:
1 x yellow RSPB bucket
¾ x bucketful of melted suet or lard
Mixture of seeds, nuts, dried fruit, etc.
Small length of strong string or rope
Step 1: Take your yellow bucket and careful poke a tiny hole in the bottom. Thread through the rope to make and secure with a knot.
Step 2: Fill bucket with mixture of seeds, nuts, dried fruit etc. And pour over with melted suet or lard. Leave to cool.
Step 3: Dash out to garden in 5-minute slot of Bank Holiday sunshine. Attach the bucket with rope to a sturdy branch. Behold – the wonder! The bucket handle will make a nifty perch for the birds to sit on. Cometh the chaffinch, the blue tit, the robin and starling!
Disclaimer: the RSPB accepts no responsibility for odd looks that you neighbour might give you if you festoon your whole back garden with buckets.
For more tips on feeding garden birds, check out our RSPB advice pages.
You can also use your bucket to take part in our Love Nature Week fundraising collections. Love Nature Week takes place from 26 May to 3 June 2012. Find out more here: www.rspb.org.uk/bucketcollections
Got an idea for what to do with a bucket? I'd love to hear it! Tweet #101buckets