Volunteers' Week: Volunteering at Brooklands

Volunteers' Week: Volunteering at Brooklands

Volunteers help in so many ways - Stephen Baynes took on an office-based role with the Fundraising and Marketing team - always plenty to do there!

When I began volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust in 2005, I did not really mind what I did, I just hoped to be of some help with their work. I had recently retired from a career in biological research and was already involved with voluntary countryside management tasks with the National Trust so was quite content to take on an office-based role for one day a week. 

The Fundraising and Marketing team at that time was small and quite stretched, with Alastair Cook heading it and dealing with press releases and PR in general, as well as his other roles. He asked if I would take over recording where his press releases appeared and file the clippings so he could monitor how effective they were at reaching their audience. Members of staff would bring in copies of their local papers and periodicals after they had finished with them, and armed with a pair of scissors, a pen and several lever-arch files, I provided an amateur equivalent of Google's press-cuttings service. I think I probably had a reputation for turning up at Brooklands just to spend the whole day reading the papers; but there were other things to be done. 

Jane Franklin, who designed and put together the members' magazine for many years, until the start of the pandemic, had accumulated a collection of CDs with digital images of wildlife and the reserves. Many different people contributed the photographs and they provided a valuable resource, but the expanding collection, as digital photography became commonplace, was becoming increasingly unwieldy and needed cataloguing.  Alastair proposed how this might be done at minimal cost and it was my other job to implement this by uploading thumbnail images to the office intranet along with an identifier to give the location of the original image file in the CD library. 

This work continued with Nicky Hoar and then Sally Welbourn taking over the Press Officer post, until the pandemic brought about its changes for us all. Now Google does provide the press cuttings service, and the CD library is being transferred to the Cloud so that it can be accessed by staff working from home. Times move on, and technology changes, but volunteers are still needed; I am now uploading selected images from the CD library I helped create, in order to create another on Sharepoint, hopefully improved and more versatile than the first. 

Stephen Baynes

DWT Images