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Volunteering with Lagan Valley Regional Park

I was born in Belfast. In my working life I was a quantity surveyor, so my work was very office bound, nothing like the stuff I do now.  I knew when I retired that I wanted to do something completely different.

I have been retired for 3 years. After retirement I had a glorious six months of travelling and generally doing nothing for a while. One day when I was out for a walk I saw a notice for volunteering with Lagan Valley Regional Park, and I thought why not.  I was looking for something to do during the week and these hours suited me.

The work I do is so varied! From the really physical - which I like to call the ‘slash and burn’ type of activities which includes things like clearing away undergrowth and cleaning up rivers, it is outdoors and it is physical, I love it. Then there are also more gentle activities such as gathering seeds and making bird boxes, so there really is something for everyone. I am also a guide in the Lock Keepers cottage, where I meet and greet visitors and give them some information on the history of the cottage and answer any questions that they might have.

I meet great people and it is great craic. I love that it is physical, it tires you out and that is a good feeling. It is great being part of a team, we all support each other…safety in numbers and all that! I also enjoy the solitude that working out in nature can give you.

Anyone who is thinking about volunteering should go for it! The beauty of volunteering is that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do - but you don’t know what you are going to like until you try it – it’s all there for the taking.

Jackson Tinto

For more information about volunteering for people 50+ contact Helen on 028 9020 0850 or email helen.connolly@volunteernow.co.uk