Volunteer work parties undertake work throughout the Nature Reserve and Playground1 to maintain and develop them. We have over four kilometres of hedge to look after, using traditional laying and trimming methods. We have still to control the ragwort that was at infestation levels when we took on Fauna. Our ponds and scrapes need clearing to maintain the clear water that bird life requires. These are just a few of the many tasks that our volunteers fulfil.
Regular work parties meet:
- On Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to around 1pm
- On the second Saturday morning of each month from 10am to around 1pm
- In the summer months, a Scything Group meets on Tuesday evenings to control thistles, nettles and soft rush.
A list of volunteer dates can be found on the Calendar and on notices throughout the Nature Reserve and Playground and on the blog (select the ‘Volunteering’ category to view volunteering-related posts). Reminders and special events are circulated to volunteers in advance via an email list.
The group includes volunteers of all ages, and we aim to provide a good choice of activities for people of different physical ability and stamina. From time to time, we work with disability groups and the Association has taken steps to become a Dementia-Friendly organisation. So, there is a place for everyone!
Training and support are provided for unfamiliar tasks. For example, volunteers who have trained in hedge-laying and scything are happy to pass on these skills to others.
Can I join a work party?
Yes, you certainly can! We always need help to maintain and improve the Reserve, so if you are 18 or over, just come along to the meeting point – our Storage Building just down the track between Sunnyside Lane and the Orchard – on any of the days listed above. If you are under 18, you are equally welcome – please visit the Young Volunteers section for further details. We welcome volunteers of all abilities and we will do our best to find tasks which are appropriate – and enjoyable – for you. If you have particular skills, we will always be keen to take advantage of them, whether you are skilled with a strimmer or in first aid.
We are a friendly group which likes to have fun as well as work, whatever the weather. We provide tools and other equipment and, on the Saturday sessions, delicious cake! You can contact volunteering AT fairfieldassociation DOT org to be added to the Volunteers’ email list, which reminds us of the upcoming volunteer days, what we are intending to do on them and makes calls for volunteers for special sessions such as our Community Events and hedge planting days.
The Fairfield Association is very much a community as well as an environmental charity and local people very much appreciate the work that volunteers contribute. When we are working we are often complimented on ‘the good job’ we are doing.
When you volunteer for a work party, your safety is your own responsibility, but as a Group we take our Health and Safety very seriously. The first time you come, you must introduce yourself to the Volunteer Organiser who will provide you with further health and safety information. We do need you to give us a contact number for someone to phone in an emergency. If you have a relevant medical condition, please be sure to let the Volunteer Organiser know. We provide safety instruction for use of tools, we carry out risk assessments and we aim to have first aiders on hand at all our major events. You should come in suitable footwear and waterproof clothing. We have communal work gloves for use, but you may prefer to bring your own.
How is the work of volunteers organised?
The Fairfield Association has a Management Group called FFOG (Fauna, Flora and Orchard Group2) which draws up policies and plans for the care of the Reserve. For example, we have annual plans for managing our wetlands, our hedges and our woodlands. The Volunteer Organiser works to these plans to organise the tasks undertaken by our work groups and reports on what has been achieved on a regular basis. These reports and the other business of FFOG are all available one the Meetings and Minutes page. If you think you can contribute to the planning and organisation of the work do contact the FFOG Secretary (FFOG AT fairfieldassociation DOT org) or have a word with the Volunteer Organiser (Ian Procter 07811 970 595 or sysaf123 AT gmail DOT com). Ian is the person to speak to about any queries you have about volunteering with the Association.
Some people can’t make our work parties or want to do a bit extra and work as Associate Volunteers contributing to the Reserve and the Playground in their own time. It is important that such contributions are in accord with the overall policies and plans of the Association and are carried out safely. So, if you wish to be an Associate Volunteer, please contact Ian.
1 The Aldcliffe Road Triangle is part of the Fairfield Association and is volunteer-maintained but this work is organised separately, please see the Friends of Aldcliffe Road Triangle website.
2 Named after the constituent parts of the Nature Reserve as it has expanded.