National Volunteers Week is held from the 1-7 June annually, recognising the valuable contribution volunteers make within their communities.
Drusillas Park in Alfriston is lucky enough to have some brilliant volunteers supporting their zoo keepers and education team. Their role is extremely varied, and volunteers often find themselves helping across number of different areas including: Lory Landing, Lemurland, the Bat and Sloth Enclosure, the Discovery Centre, and even sometimes assisting in the zoo kitchens or caring for the education animals.
For retired SEN teacher, Lynn Robertson, volunteering is a huge part of her life. For the last 18-months she has been helping out at Drusillas returning each week to assist and spread a conservation message.
Lynn commented, “I absolutely love it here. I used to come here after work, and spend the last half hour before closing time visiting the animals and exploring the zoo.
“Volunteering with the lorikeets is my favourite; I really enjoy helping people overcome their fear of birds. Some people are so scared to begin with, but once you show them how gentle and loving the birds are, everyone stops being afraid! That experience is everything to me.”
Drusillas is extremely proud of all their volunteers and continually bowled over by how much help each individual is willing to give. A particular story of success comes from new zoo keeper, Luke Craigmyle.
25-year-old Luke started volunteering at Drusillas just under a year ago. With lots of enthusiasm and dedication, Luke managed to work his way up from volunteer to zoo keeper.
Luke said, “My grandparents used to keep sheep and chickens, so I grew up around animals and have always wanted to work hands on with them.
“I was working in an office dealing with pensions and volunteered in my spare time. I would always ask if I could stay late or help out with different jobs. Drusillas trained me up and now here I am doing the most amazing job! I would one hundred million percent recommend volunteering at Drusillas.”
Drusillas is currently looking for more volunteers to join their team. So, if you have a love of animals, and enjoy talking to the public this could be the perfect opportunity.
Head of Education, James Woodward commented, “We are so grateful to all our wonderful volunteers. Our zoo keepers work really hard, so it’s nice to be able to support them with a team who have a little more time to spend talking in depth with the public about our animals.
“We are always looking for people to join our volunteer team, and we would love to hear from anyone who thinks they’d like to give it a go!”