Looking after a Harbour takes an army

The Government call for volunteers as part of the Coronavirus pandemic response once again demonstrated the British spirit for giving time to support good causes. When the Prime Minister put out the initial call for 250,000 volunteers, many questioned whether this target was too ambitious and a little ‘pie in the sky’. Within days, the number that had registered was double the initial target eventually rising to more than three times the amount. And that was just those responding to the national call. All over the country, tens-of-thousands of other volunteers were supporting local initiatives from mutual aid networks to food banks and even just popping notes through neighbours’ doors, offering help and support if needed.

We have always been a nation of volunteers, willing to give something back to our communities, and it is hoped this national mobilisation, and the sense of community that has built through the lockdown period, will continue for years to come.

Here at the Conservancy we have always enjoyed the support of a strong volunteer contingent from the Friends of Chichester Harbour and as we recognise the efforts of volunteers everywhere during National Volunteering Week (first week of June 2020) we would like to thanks them for everything they do.

Our volunteers provide an invaluable service to the Conservancy. They act as our eyes and ears across the 7,400 hectares that make up the AONB with beach cleaning and litter picking, they help at events and on walks, they carry out surveys, help in the Education Centre and assist with footpath maintenance and conservation work.

As a result of the lockdown, many of our regular activities have been on pause as our volunteers have been confined to home.  But whilst our volunteer army may have been confined to barracks, nature has marched on as have many of our statutory roles and responsibilities –just with reduced ‘manpower’ to deliver them.

And so we are in need of a concerted effort as we begin to return to something akin to normality, to help us get back on top of many of these issues and also re-establish the services our visitors and wildlife expect of us. There is no quota for volunteers here in Chichester Harbour - everybody’s welcome and there is always work to be done. But as we reflect on the last few months, we hope that more of you may be inspired to take up volunteering and give as much time as you can (every hour helps) to make a difference on your doorstep.

The best way to make a start with volunteering in the Harbour is to join the Friends of Chichester Harbour who organise regular conservation work parties throughout the year that you can join in with easily – no previous skill required.  If you would like to know more about all the volunteering opportunities, please visit our volunteering page where you can find out more and also learn about some of the amazing organisations that work in and around the Harbour.

If you’re interested in other volunteer opportunities locally, you can also visit Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester