Charlie Muir - The icing on the cake
Expanding skills and interests through volunteering
During Volunteer Week Scotland 2016, we're spotlighting volunteer experiences from throughout the Clyde and Avon Valley. Last week, we heard from Alex Crossan, a Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) Environmental Volunteer and his journey to Volunteer Mentor. Today, our guest blog is from Charlie Muir, Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) and RSPB Environmental Volunteer.
My name is Charlie Muir. I live in Motherwell and for several years now, I've been enjoying walks in Dalzell Estate and Baron's Haugh.
When I retired two years ago, I started taking a bin bag with me and picked up litter on my daily walk. Last year I saw an advert for voluntary work with the RSPB. I gave Stephen, the local warden, a call on the Monday morning and started with his volunteer group on the Thursday.
My personal life changed completely almost overnight. I'm now involved with a weekly Thursday group and two monthly groups, one on a Saturday the other on a Tuesday at Aird's Moss in Ayrshire. I've also worked at Cleghorn Glen in Lanark and on parts of the Clyde Walkway. I've met some wonderful people, both volunteers and members of the public and my circle of friends has grown tenfold.
The variety of work we get involved in is amazing. A typical day can be anything from planting trees, repairing fences, clearing ditches, wildflower & butterfly surveys to helping at open days. The list is endless and thanks to the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP), Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) & RSPB, a fantastic support and training programme is in place.
I have personally benefited from first class training sponsored by CAVLP and provided by CCI on topics such as; use of brushcutter & strimmer, pesticide spraying, forest skills, removal of invasive species, tool sharpening, mapping skills, chainsaw crosscutting and outdoor first aid. The opportunities to learn new skills or develop new interests are endless and the rewards are priceless. The work and training is satisfying enough but the icing on the cake is the social aspect and companionship of the volunteer network. Thanks so much to everyone involved at CAVLP, CCI and RSPB.