50 years of RSPB groups

From humble beginnings…

Our first RSPB group was set up in early 1969 in Epping Forest (to be replaced later by the current North East London Local Group). This was closely followed by Bath and District, Coventry and Warwickshire, and Newcastle upon Tyne local groups, later that year.

Local groups started their life as members' groups. Their original aim was to support the Young Ornithologists Club (the predecessor to RSPB Wildlife Explorers), money, recruit members and help to organise local film shows.

…to a large network

50 years later, in 2019, we had over 140 local groups across the UK, with a membership of more than 200,000. From Orkney to Guernsey and Lowestoft to Fermanagh, these groups led nearly 1,405 guided walks and gave 524 talks about our work to 11,093 people in other organisations. They also carried out wildlife surveys, fundraising, visited schools and much, much more. Overall their total financial contribution to the work of the RSPB was £434,485.

Highlights of the last 50 years

Our local groups have worked incredibly hard for us over the last 50 years. In that time, they have:

  • raised over £25 million for saving nature
  • given over 12 million hours through their volunteering.
  • led over 120,000 guided wildlife walks, showing people the wonder on their doorsteps
  • held over 80,000 indoor meetings, with presentations and updates about the RSPB's work.
  • inspired generations with thousands and thousands of talks to school children, in local communities, on radio and TV. They attend events, write news articles, websites and social media posts
  • published over 33,000 newsletters distributed in local communities.

Time to celebrate

In 2019 our groups marked the 50th anniversary of the first group with some special events around the country.

For example, some held a triple celebration, marking their own anniversary, the 50th anniversary and the RSPB’s 130th anniversary. There were dinners, special events programmes and newsletters, and even a concert! 

We also developed a new special anniversary pin badge, the Golden Robin.

Why not join your nearest local group, make new friends, learn about our glorious wildlife, and help give nature a home.

How you can help

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, our groups raised an extra £50,000 for nature conservation.

If you would like to donate to this fund, please click the link below.