Steel Valley Project (SVP) believe you’ll find your place on the team to be very
worthwhile. With support from the staff team, you can gain so many different skills
with us. As well as the development and practice of the many practical and traditional
skills that we use, you will also improve your health & wellbeing, meet new friendly
people, improve your career prospects, improve your confidence, spend quality time
in beautiful countryside and give yourself a physical and mental workout with an
Who volunteers for Steel Valley Project?
People from all walks of life volunteer with us, which is what makes the team so
dynamic. Our mid-week places are available to people from the age of 16 upwards.
You just need to be physically fit (able to walk up hills and carry tools and equipment
to the off-road work site) and to be able to communicate as part of a small team.
Over the years, we have supported people to further their careers in the countryside
& forestry sectors by passing on relevant transferable skills and providing formal
training. SVP supports further & higher education students, unemployed, people returning
to work, retirees, those looking to gain work experience and others looking to get
involved in a local community project.
How long do people volunteer for?
It depends what you want to get out of it. Some of the current volunteers have been
on the team for 3-4 years, some for 2, some for 1 year and others for less. Those
looking to gain valuable experience to further their career prospects usually stay
on the team for approximately one year. This way they get to carry out the full spectrum
of seasonal work and gain skills working with chainsaws and hand tools in the woods
and along hedgerows during the winter and with strimmers on paths and trails during
the growing season in summer. Weaved around this are other tasks that can be carried
out at any time such as countryside furniture installations (steps, benches, fencing
etc), dry stone walling and branch pruning work. Due to the small team sizes, we
can normally only host each volunteer for 1 day a week.
What does Steel Valley Project get out of it?
SVP couldn’t carry out most of our practical work without the volunteers – they are
so crucial to the delivery of work that we do. It’s a two way relationship – SVP
benefits the volunteers who in turn support our project work and improve local greenspaces
for the benefit of wildlife and local communities. The volunteers also help each
other - everybody comes with different life experiences and skills and has something
to offer to others on the team. Teamwork is crucial to gain the desired results that
are expected from us by the public landowners that we work for and so we either work
in pairs, in small groups or together as a full team. As individuals progress and
develop their skills, the supervisor is able to rely on them for increased assistance
and nurture new volunteers as they join the team.
What training do you have on offer?
We provide training and supervision in a broad range of practical countryside management
skills, such as hedgelaying, dry stone walling, branch pruning, tree felling, coppicing,
managing footpaths, installing countryside furniture and more. SVP also provides
opportunities to gain formal training in the use of strimmers, chainsaws and first
aid certificates. These courses are provided if funding support is available and
suitable candidates show potential or interest – this then allows us to maintain
a knowledgeable & capable team that operates in a safe and efficient manner.