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Use the extra day in this leap year to volunteer and help save nature in Berkshire

13 February 2012

Samantha Stokes
Media Officer
E-mail: sam.stokes@rspb.org.uk

With 2012 being a leap year, the RSPB is asking people in Berkshire to Step up for Nature and donate  their extra day to help save wildlife.

The wildlife conservation charity, which was started up by a group of volunteers in 1889, involves volunteers in almost every part of its work in the UK and internationally, with doctors, translators, IT specialists, health and safety experts, carpenters, quantity surveyors, pilots and even a burlesque dancer all donating their time and talents to the RSPB.

Jenny Sweet, volunteering development officer for RSPB South East, said: “Our volunteers give us the gift of time to help us save nature in so many ways. 

“From undertaking surveys of birds on farms, to raising money in the local community or repairing and recycling binoculars for use across the globe; these are just some examples of the hundreds of ways volunteers support and enhance the RSPB’s work.”

A great way of getting involved and supporting the work of the RSPB is by looking after a pin badge box as a community fundraising volunteer. Boxes are located in a variety of locations, such as garden centres, pubs and shops – and new sites are always welcomed.

Once a box has been suitably sited, the only commitment is to empty the box, bank the money once a month and replenish the badges.

The money raised by these volunteers – it could be as much as £1,000 per year, is essential to the work the RSPB does in Berkshire and across the South East.

Valerie Wallington from Newbury, volunteers for the RSPB as the West Berkshire Pin Badge Area Coordinator. She said: “I think the thing that struck me most about volunteering is that I've never felt overwhelmed or overloaded by the role, and I have always felt supported by the RSPB. It’s been really flexible and accommodating to my needs depending on how much time I can give, which has worked really well for me as someone who is retired and has other interests and activities that I can fit my volunteering in with.”

Fundraising for nature is just one of the ways people can do their bit and ‘Step up for Nature’.

The RSPB’s ‘Stepping Up for Nature’ movement encourages everybody to take steps, no matter how big or small, in order to help protect nature and ensure the Government meets its target to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2020. For more information on what you can do visit www.rspb.org.uk/steppingup

Recent government figures show the number of people volunteering formally at least once a year had fallen to its lowest level for a decade, however the RSPB has seen more people that ever stepping-up in this way.

Between April 2010 and March 2011, the charity’s 17,609 volunteers donated one million hours, this equates to an extra 591 full time staff for the charity.

Ms Sweet added: “Volunteering is a fantastic way of doing something that benefits a great cause and makes you feel good about yourself at the same time.

“Thanks to the leap year we’re all going to get an extra day in 2012. Do something useful with it and lend your time and talents to the RSPB to help us reach two million hours next year!”

For further information on Community Fundraising opportunities with the RSPB in the South East, please contact Nichola Willet or Mark Phillips on 01273 775333 or CommunitySE@rspb.org.uk

To find out more about all volunteering opportunities available with the RSPB please visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering

Notes

The Communities and Local Government department surveyed almost 16,000 people in England and Wales through two polling companies for its Citizenship Survey 2010/11 - http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/news/1095182/