Podio Preston recently spoke to Rebekah Stevenson, Preston City Council’s Environmental Volunteers Officer to find out more about environmental volunteering opportunities with Preston City Council.
“After graduating from the University of Keele and working for a variety of environmental organisations I turned my skills towards helping my hometown grow and I now work at Preston City Council in a newly created role as the Environmental Volunteers Officer. In an age of growing environmental concern and care it’s a crucial role to help our city keep clean and sustainable. Our volunteer workforce consists of some of Preston’s most passionate individuals; working without pay for the benefit of their community and their environment. We receive invaluable help from the local community to look after its parks and streets and work with volunteers who give up their time to make Preston a cleaner, greener place.
My role at the council is to aid in volunteering activity, making environmental volunteering with Preston City Council easier across different council departments including Parks and Streetscene. I manage and sort volunteer applications to direct people to the right volunteering opportunities for them. I provide the resources they need to give them more independence whilst volunteering with us. The future of my role will look towards recruiting a diverse volunteer workforce and engaging more youth volunteers to take more pride in the cleanliness of their hometown.
At the council we offer a few different volunteering opportunities but the most popular enquiry is about litter picking (both lone and group events). Our volunteer litter pickers are a dedicated set of individuals who pride themselves with cleaning up our local parks, streets and green spaces from litter and rubbish. Walking is a great mindfulness practise for mental wellbeing; paired with the valuable stewardship of an individual’s local environment, litter picking serves as an invaluable community practise for all ages. On behalf of the council we can offer equipment to aid in litter picking activities, including our rubbish bags, bag holders and litter pickers. It is important to me to make sure that our volunteers are as safe as possible in their activity.
In addition to litter pickers we also have a network of Friends groups who play a crucial role in protecting and enhancing parks, woodlands, play areas and green spaces in Preston. The groups help with park related projects, organise community events, contribute to management decisions and help raise funding for improvements and new facilities.
By working in partnership with Preston City Council, residents have more influence over what changes happen in their local park. Our cooperative approach helps to maintain the parks to a high standard and continue to develop them to meet the needs of the community. Visit Preston City Council’s friends page to find out about your group and information on how to set up your own friends group.
Due to our currently limited capacity to facilitate volunteer events, we encourage volunteers to get involved with local organisations like Let’s Grow Preston and Dig-In North West as environmental volunteering alternatives to council-led opportunities. Let’s Grow Preston is a community environmental charity in and around Preston that helps local communities to brighten up their neighbourhoods with a wide range of planting activities. Dig-In North West is a team made up of both serving and veteran military families who get together to carry out a wide range of gardening activities and practical skills development. They work together to support each other and engage with the community for a strong and beneficial supportive environmental network.
The role that environmental volunteers play in Preston is simply invaluable. When a community comes together to care for its environment it serves to create a stronger, cleaner and more compassionate public space. We are so thankful for the dedicated work that Preston’s environmental volunteers commit to, it provides invaluable support and inspires our work on a daily basis. For more information on volunteering opportunities or queries feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Volunteering- Preston City Council
Podio Preston is an admirer of Preston’s green spaces and parks, if you have photographs of any of Preston’s green spaces or parks that you would like to share with us then please send them to Podio Preston via our Facebook or email them to email@example.com