Published Tuesday, 1st June 2021
During the pandemic, many of us have explored our neighbourhoods in new ways. For some, this has led to a new relationship with their local area.
“With much of my walking having to be from home, I’ve discovered so many new routes, nature reserves and sites,” says Gillian.
After discovering that many of these sites are supported by the Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers (SNCV), Gillian decided to volunteer:
“It has meant a lot to me to be able to actually work at some of these sites. I have learned more about the habitats and wildlife on these sites, which enriches the experience when walking through.”
This change of perspective - and routine - has helped Gillian during the pandemic:
SNCV work closely with Sutton Council’s biodiversity team to manage Sutton’s nature reserves and wider biodiversity. “Fresh air, exercise with a sense of achievement, community...I have worked from home for the last year and this has provided a feeling of ‘going to work’. Being part of a well-run organisation feels like a privilege."
For those who have been volunteering with SNCV for a while, the sense of community has been especially important during the pandemic.
“It's wonderful, especially during this strange year, to be outdoors for a day with like-minded people,” says Barbara, an SNCV volunteer for the last nine years.
The benefits of connecting with others while supporting Sutton’s environment have also motivated Diana to volunteer for the last eight years:
"I have learnt so much about native wildflowers and trees from the Biodiversity Team. But that’s not all - working with many different people of all ages and backgrounds has been an eye-opener; and looking forward to our work every week has helped me stay (relatively) sane and healthy.
“Our work helps mitigate in a small way the climate crisis we find ourselves living through. It’s often hard work but so worth it."
To find out more about volunteering in Sutton, contact Volunteer Centre Sutton.