Volunteers at a Cheshire wildlife charity are having a positive impact on the local environment and improving their own wellbeing at the same time.
RECORD is a registered charity and Local Environmental Records Centre based at Chester Zoo, covering the county and providing a one-stop resource for organisations and individuals looking to access environmental data.
More than 70 volunteers play a key role at RECORD, taking part in various projects to gather and manage this valuable information.
Volunteering at a charity like RECORD also helps people to include the five ways to wellbeing in their life, which include connecting with other people, learning new skills, giving, keeping active and taking notice of the world around you.
Pete Lennon has been volunteering at RECORD for more than a decade after taking early retirement and sees first-hand the many benefits it can bring. He said, “It gives me a focus and reason to get up in the morning.
“I thoroughly enjoy the work – I find it very interesting – and the people and staff are lovely.
“With the help of RECORD, I’ve gone down other avenues that are mainly outdoor and my whole week is filled with volunteering. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
“People in conservation are always very caring and you learn a lot from experts who specialise in this.”
Steve Ryder is another valuable member of the volunteer team at RECORD, taking a leading role in the wildlife surveys carried out in areas across Cheshire. He added, “We meet interesting experts and people, see what wildlife there is, how to record it and enter it into our databases.
“I’ve met a new circle of friends and I go out a lot more now.
“It’s been really good for me so, if you’ve got some time on your hands and don’t know what to do, please volunteer.
“There are so many good organisations out there and you’ll really see the benefits yourself both physically and mentally.
“I was working for more than 25 years in a family garage business and, when we closed it, I was thinking about what else there was.
“I thought I’d take a bit of a step, do a bit of volunteering and I’ve never looked back really.”
Cheshire West and Chester Council and its partners, including Brio Leisure and Active Cheshire, have teamed up to share information and advice about the five ways to wellbeing with residents and help people through the winter
These are five ways to wellbeing.
- Connect – with people around you, including friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. Good relationships give you a sense of belonging and self-worth, as well as providing emotional support.
- Be active – whether it is going for run or walk, gardening, playing a game or dancing around the kitchen, being active can raise your self-esteem, help you to set goals you can achieve and cause chemical changes in your brain that can positively change your mood.
- Take notice – savour the moment and make the effort to be more aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better.
- Learn – try something new or rediscover an old interest, which will help boost your self-confidence, give you a sense of purpose and help you connect with others.
- Give – do something nice for someone else, volunteer or say thank you. Acts of giving and kindness can create a sense of reward, give you a feeling of purpose and self-worth and help you connect with others.
More information about the campaign, including a toolkit for you to use on social media, is available on the Live Well Cheshire West website at: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/fiveways
Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA), the go-to organisation for the community sector in west Cheshire, is running a volunteering campaign to encourage people to support their local communities.
RECORD is one of many charitable organisations that promote their opportunities on CWVA’s volunteering platform, where people can easily search for volunteering roles that suit their own interests and time commitments.
Alongside the volunteering opportunities, you can also get involved with wildlife recording by attending one of RECORD’s events.
Image: Pete Lennon, volunteer, Iona Cowell, Data Services Officer at RECORD, and Steve Ryder, volunteer
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