Become a Trust Volunteer
We value the massive contribution made by all of our volunteers. Whether you want to improve your CV, make like-minded friends, or just want to give something back to your local community, committing to volunteer with us could be the best decision you ever make. Three of our volunteers tell their stories below.
Whilst studying Geography at St Andrews University, I was given the opportunity to work on a summer internship programme with the Lands Team at The National Trust for Jersey and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. On completing my studies I returned to Jersey and was excited to discover that not only would I be able to continue my work with the Trust through volunteering but would also be able to use my university skills to carry out a Geographical Information Systems (“GIS”) mapping project.
My university course focused on environmental management and the use of GIS for mapping. GIS is designed to assist with capturing and analysing a variety of spatial and geographical data. Use of GIS software allows layers of data to be plotted. When combined with satellite imagery it can be a highly useful ecosystem management tool, enabling land managers to analyse data in respect of ecosystem health, species recovery and biodiversity.
I have recently been involved with a special GIS project with the Trust, mapping Jersey coastal habitats which are of environmental significance within the coastal zone and away from built-up areas and roads. The Lands Team provided continuous support whilst I was carrying out the project and encouraged considerable development of my GIS skills. I am hopeful that the Trust will be able to use my work when designing future habitat management plans and that the GIS data plotted will assist with decision making; determining the specific areas of focus in terms of implementing detailed habitat surveys and identifying where funding will be required for future projects. Understanding our environment is key to creating effective and sustainable management strategies.
Mapping the coastal areas of Jersey was a fascinating experience and undertaking this has made me realise just how many diverse habitats exist.
As I was born and brought up in Jersey, I feel very privileged to live on an island with such a rich variety of flora and fauna. I strongly believe that it is important to help protect the unique species and habitats found here, both for current and for future generations.
Working on the GIS project has made me appreciate how hard the Lands Team at the Trust work to manage and preserve a high percentage of our island’s environment and biodiversity.
Volunteering has allowed me to build and maintain my passion for conserving Jersey’s environment and has also given me the opportunity to work with knowledgeable and like-minded people to preserve fragile areas of natural importance.
"I came to volunteering at the Trust by accident. I worked on shifts at the airport as a refueller. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with a health problem; my doctor advised me that I needed to undertake more exercise; I didn’t fancy running on the treadmill or lifting weights at the gym! My wife was listening to BBC Radio Jersey and Charles Alluto, the CEO for The National Trust was being interviewed and mentioned The Trust were looking for volunteers".
That’s how it started. A few weeks later I was volunteering. I started with some gardening jobs; cutting grass at The Elms, helping with small maintenance jobs at the various Trust sites. I try and keep my volunteering close to where I live, so I don’t have to travel far. I was getting the exercise I needed and I could fit my volunteering around my shift work.
While cutting the grass one day at The Elms I was asked if I would like to help out at the annual Black Butter event. I had always been interested in the making of Black Butter as I can remember seeing it made as a young boy, and I am keen to see local traditions such as this continue.
Volunteering at the Black Butter event is now a regular date in my diary. I have helped with all aspects from washing jam jars, peeling apples and regularly undertaking a 36 hour shift, though the night overseeing the stirring of the Black Butter in the bachin. Whilst some physical activity (and stamina!) is required to stir the Black Butter I find it therapeutic and a good way of relaxing, it’s just something totally different.
When I retired I found that I was available for other jobs, I love the variety, from gardening tasks, odd maintenance jobs, to delivering brochures and putting up banners, there is always something to help out with. The Trust has such a small team, and there are always more tasks to be undertaken than resources available, so I help where I can.
Why do I volunteer? I love Jersey, and believe in the aims of The National Trust in preserving and safeguarding sites of historic and natural interest for the benefit of the island. I get pleasure in knowing that I can help make a difference in helping preserve Jersey’s traditions and environment. Since having retired I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life and being part of a team, making a contribution to a worthwhile cause and keeping fit at the same time!
Martin & Barbara’s Story
Martin and Barbara Pitman joined The National Trust in the late 1970s and spent many happy family holidays in the UK often visiting National Trust houses and sites with their three boys. During these visits they noticed that many of the house staff who welcomed visitors to the houses and gardens were volunteers. It was during these holidays that Martin and Barbara started to think that once they retired from teaching they may like to volunteer for the Trust in Jersey.
Martin specialised as a secondary school history teacher and Barbara was a primary school teacher.
Martin told us that on his retirement he contacted the Trust’s House and Collections Manager at 16 New Street, St Helier. He secured a volunteering opportunity every Wednesday morning as a room guide at the Georgian House. "I enjoy meeting so many different people, both locals and visitors and sharing my historical and local knowledge. Every Wednesday morning is different. I have started to get more involved and in the spring helped with some of the house maintenance prior to the house opening for the season. I’ve even been known to clean the brass! I enjoy working as part of a team in a lovely environment and knowing that I am doing something worthwhile to support the local history of the Island".
Barbara retired three months later, and she told us that she too had been drawn into volunteering for the Trust. "I help out in the shop at the Georgian House at 16 New Street, usually one morning a week, but it can be more to cover holidays. I also volunteer at Le Moulin de Quétival Water Mill. The Mill is the only surviving working water mill in the island and I help to greet the visitors, and try and answer any questions they may have. The Trust has recently set up a small tea room to encourage visitors and locals to explore the area, so I am also helping out serving teas and coffees. We also offer homemade cakes, so I sometimes help by baking cakes to take along when I’m on duty".
Why do Martin and Barbara volunteer for The Trust? "We both have a love of history and enjoy giving something back to The National Trust; we appreciate that without volunteers many of the Trust properties would not be able to open. We find that we can give as little or as much time as we want, so it can be quite flexible and does not interfere with anything else we wish to do. There is always a friendly atmosphere and the feeling that our contributions are valued. We would encourage anyone newly retired to give it ago"