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Get Involved

Volunteering is a great way to help your local community. Across Bridgend County Borough there are lots of volunteer groups. These come in all shapes and sizes and operate for a wide variety of purposes.

Participating in outdoor volunteering is a great way to connect with people, get active and improve your physical and mental wellbeing.

Volunteering is something I promised myself I would do for years. I'd done an occasional litter pick but thought it would be good to do different things. It took a while but I finally rocked up to join and have never regretted it.

There is a satisfaction in seeing the work we’ve done and in making a difference to the local environment. We do river cleans, bramble bashing, hay rakes and more. You start to learn and understand the natural world as well.

The social part is also great, with new friends made and loads of tea and cake. Being out in the trees and air sets me up for the week. After 8 years I'm still loving it, and have now started my own local group!

Rachel is a volunteer with the Bryngarw Park Volunteer Group

Outdoor volunteering

There’s lots of opportunities for people to participate in outdoor volunteering in the Bridgend area. You can volunteer for any length of time; all help is useful and appreciated. It’s a great way to connect with people, get active and improve your physical and mental wellbeing, while helping the environment at the same time.

The Bridgend Green Network brings together people interested in helping conserve wildlife and green spaces across the borough. Visit the Facebook page to find out about volunteer groups and opportunities. Bridgend Green Network Facebook Page

Here’s some of the outdoor volunteering opportunities available in Bridgend County Borough:

Volunteer on a green project at a country park or nature reserve.

Green Links Bridgend project is helping to connect communities and local green spaces for the benefit of both people and plants. You can get involved and discover why green spaces are such special places for wildlife, plants and people. Follow Green Links on Facebook.

Valleys Regional Park offers volunteering opportunities across the South Wales valleys.

Groundwork Wales works across south and mid Wales to create stronger, healthier communities.

VOG, Bridgend and NPT Meadows Group is a group setup to help support local landowners in the conservation, restoration and enhancement of wildflower grasslands and meadows.

Making Memories Bridgend Green Links and Dynamic Dunescapes are working together to celebrate stories about our fabulous coastline. They want to hear from everyone – whether you’ve got a wonderful childhood memory of days spent in the dunes, or some coastal images that you’re proud of, they want to read it, see it and hear it.

Tremains Woodland Rangers is a volunteer community group who work with and alongside BCBC biodiversity team to effectively manage Tremains Wood LNR 

Health, safety and wellbeing

It’s really important to make sure you are looking after your health and wellbeing when volunteering.

How to maintain health and hygiene in outdoor volunteering. Our ‘how to’ guide provide some handy hints and tips about how to maintain health and hygiene in outdoor volunteering.

St John Ambulance has some great first aid advice

AdventureSmart provides some useful information on being safe in the outdoors.

When working in the countryside, it’s important to follow the Countryside Code 

When working around water, it’s important to be very careful and safe. Follow the Waterside Code as well as advice from the Canal and River Truston water safety.

Risk assessments are an important step to managing risk and working to maintain the health and hygiene of volunteers. See these resources from Keep Wales Tidy  and the Health and Safety Executive to find out more about carrying out risk assessments.

Local charities can provide support for people looking to volunteer in the community that might need extra help in order to volunteer, e.g. Mental Health Matters.

Volunteer groups can expect to have people attending volunteer sessions not just because they have an interest in the subject but also because it’s part of recovery in the community. WACDA is an organization who support people in this way, amongst many others.   

Set up a volunteering group

Perhaps you’ve noticed that there isn’t a volunteer group in your local area and you’d be interested in setting one up to help manage your local green space. It can be really easy to help set up a volunteering group.

Have a look at these resources to find out more about setting up a volunteer group:

Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) helps support, encourage and promote the development of the voluntary and community sector in Bridgend County Borough.

WCVA’s purpose is to enable voluntary organisations in Wales to make a bigger difference together.

Third Sector Support Wales works to develop active and involved citizens by enabling more people and communities to benefit from volunteering.

Info Engine is a directory of third sector services in Wales

Keep Wales Tidy – find out about community group insurance.

Litter picking

You might not be able to commit to joining a group, but you can still make a difference within your local area. Litter picking is a great way for one person to make a big difference in helping keep our green spaces healthy places for wildlife.

Sometimes there will be too much litter for one person to pick up. By reporting fly tipping, you can help keep our green spaces clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy.

Report fly-tipping in Bridgend County Borough

Citizen science

Just by going for a walk and recording the things you see, you can help scientists monitor Bridgend’s habitats and see how they are changing. This kind of research is called citizen science.

Find a research topic that interests you:

National Plant Monitoring Scheme is a habitat-based plant monitoring scheme carried out nationwide. Data is collected to provide an indication of changes in plant abundance, diversity and helps to assess the health of our habitats.

Every Flower Counts is an annual survey of the UK’s lawns. But why do we need this survey? Put quite simply, plants need pollinators and pollinators need plants. However, we know that both are in sharp decline. Every Flower Counts needs you to help survey and contribute to data which will provide an indication of changes in plant abundance.

Cowslips Survey Cowslips can help us understand the quality and extent of grassland in an area.

WaxcApp helps monitor grassland fungi around Bridgend County Borough. Between late summer and early winter one of nature’s most colourful displays is waiting to be discovered. The colourful, gem-like fruiting bodies of grassland fungi can be found peeping through the turf across our countryside, cities and even some of our gardens.

Sadly, these sites are often overlooked and in many cases are in danger of being lost. But by taking part in a short survey you can help discover where they are and better understand the kinds of places these colourful fungi are likely to appear.

Dynamic Dunescapes By identifying and recording plant species, you can help scientists and conservationists protect and restore biodiverse sand dune habitats in Wales using an app.

With a beautiful range of habitats, coastal sand dunes are home to some amazing wildlife – including butterflies, lizards, toads and orchids. You’ll help researchers gather vital sand dune habitat and species data to help strengthen the understanding of what’s going on in coastal sand dune environments, and to help improve the conservation work that is being done

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Take part in the nation’s biggest garden bird survey, held annually on a weekend in January.

Big Butterfly Count Help take nature’s pulse by joining the big butterfly count, held annually in the summer.

Moth Night is a celebration of moths found in Britain, held annually in the summer.

Allotments

Allotments are great for connecting with nature and improving your physical and mental wellbeing. Find out where your nearest allotments are.

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