Thank you to our Environment Action Volunteers

June 1, 2021

This Volunteers’ Week (1st to 7th June) we would like to say thank you to all our Environment Action Volunteers (EAVs), some of whom have volunteered with us for over a decade.

Our volunteers are all Leicestershire residents who care about the environment, who have been motivated not only to take positive actions to reduce their impact on the planet, but to help other people to do so as well. We’re immensely proud of all our volunteers and the work that they do.

Over the years we’ve had around 140 different volunteers participate in our various volunteer schemes, who have collectively given over 145,000 hours of their time to help Leicestershire reduce, reuse, repair and recycle. Amongst other things our volunteers visit schools, give talks, run stalls, write articles, make videos, advise on reusable nappies, promote composting, strive to improve biodiversity, reduce carbon emissions and generally make Leicestershire a better place.

To give you a better insight into who our EAVs are, what they do, and why they do what they do, one of our volunteers has kindly agreed to share her story here.

If you’d like to know more about our volunteer scheme, or request the help of a volunteer as a result please visit our volunteer page, or write to us at wasteprevention@leics.gov.uk

If you are a volunteer – thank you!

 

Judy Burrage; An 11 year volunteering journey

Photo of Judy

Judy was awarded a certificate marking her completion of the Master Composter programme and contribution of over 30 voluntary hours helping others to home compost at an award ceremony held in 2011.

I’m Judy Burrage from Market Harborough, where I have lived for 35 years

I’m newly retired, but my ‘portfolio career’ has spanned being a maths teacher, working as a project manager at Barclaycard, and running my own horticulture business. I now spend my time looking after my garden and allotment, and helping to run a new voluntary group called Sustainable Harborough Community (find us on Facebook here).

I originally trained as a Master Composter in 2010, at about the same time as I took on my allotment. I was starting to get going with composting for the first time, and the more I read up about it, the more fascinating the subject became. So when I saw an advert from LCC on the look out for people wanting to become Master Composters,  I knew it was for me!

Over the years my interest in composting has broadened out into waste reduction more generally, and so when the role migrated into being Environment Action Volunteers (who focus on composting and wider waste, recycling and environmental issues) I was quite happy with the change.

Whilst the events and activities I get involved in as an Environment Action Volunteer usually start off being something to do with Composting, inevitably people ask questions about other ‘sustainability’ topics, and it is good to know I have the resource to be able to deal with them, or at least point people in the right direction to find out more.

Initially as a Master Composter, most of my volunteering was in helping to run stands at events round he county at shows, open gardens, markets etc. Over the years I have increasingly focussed my time on events local to Market Harborough. I have also done talks/presentations to schools, gardening clubs, WI groups etc, written articles, and even voiced a video on composting created by LCC as part of International Compost Awareness Week last year.

Judy’s voiceover

About 3 years ago, I set up a Compost Champions group at my allotment site. We have set up a special demonstration area with a variety of different types of composting bins, and meet once a month to talk about and get involved in composting. New allotment holders are invited to come along join in so that they have enough information to get started with composting on their own plots.

Photograph of the Steven Street composting demo site

Judy and other composting champions at the Steven Street composting demo site

Obviously in the last year, much of my formal voluntary activity has been put on hold, though I have still been able put a few hours in by giving advice to friends and neighbours who have had queries about their compost bins.

In general my preference is to get out and about and talk to individuals or groups about composting, and in particular the basic science behind how it works. Even with the most seasoned gardener/composter, there are usually a few new tips that can be passed on – or that I can pick up!

I would definitely recommend volunteering as an Environment Action Volunteer if you have an interest in the natural world, and in doing the right things for the environment. The training and support provided by Leicestershire County Council has been great, and I look forward to getting out and talking compost again very soon!

 

If you’d like to become an Environment Action Volunteer please visit our volunteering page.

If you’d like to request the help of one of our volunteers please write to us at wasteprevention@leics.gov.uk