• Drop me an email if you want to call.
  • ryan@crowdleaf.org.uk

‘Who are @Greenhampshire & Where did they come from?’

‘Who are @Greenhampshire & Where did they come from?’

Volunteers can really make things happen.  Volunteers can change lives and can change landscapes. Volunteering is giving yourself the opportunity to achieve something with your life that is not wrapped up in the world of work, the world of money and the world of worry.  Giving yourself the chance to stop the unceasing run of days that amounted to little more than existing and taking a chance on your own passion and action; this is part of the empowerment that volunteering can bring.

Adam

Adam

It’s also a lot of fun! Dressing up as a panda was a highlight for me in the nineties when volunteering for the WWF, especially when Zoë Ball appeared at one of our events.  Around that time, some friends and I started regularly carrying litter picks on beautiful Weston Shore in Southampton and in the years to come this became an annual event. A local community group called the Friends of Weston Shore formed from this, with the support of Southampton City Council, and this has always been a great source of personal satisfaction to me. To help clean up a beach and restore it to a pristine natural beauty is a wonderful way to spend your time.

Up the road and round the corner from the Friends of Weston Shore is another group called Sholing Valley Study Centre. They are very active volunteers looking after, in particular, the Miller’s Pond Local Nature Reserve.  Sholing Valleys has been a great source of inspiration as it was becoming clear to me that volunteers have a chance to make a significant change to the world around them.  I had got so much enjoyment and satisfaction from being involved in this way and other people seemed to have a similar experience. Maybe there was a way to help other potential volunteers participate, I wondered.

One of the key factors was providing information about what is going on in a way that is accessible and up to date.  To increase the chances of a volunteer going along to an event, it seemed the best way was to have a list of possible events in the hope that one or more of them would be just right for that potential volunteer. People are more likely to go along to an event that is convenient, in terms of both time and place, and seems interesting and engaging to them.  So, if you give people as much choice as possible, this increases the chance of actual participation.

With this idea, I reached out to people on twitter in early 2011 and soon we had a chat at a café and talked it over.  A wonderful social media expert called Nicky Hirst (@Nickyhants) put me in touch with a very energetic young man called Max K. Thompson (@MaxKThompson).  Max seemed to really like the idea and soon, with his help, a website, Facebook page and twitter were up and running.  With my timid vision, I had only envisaged the project as including events in and around Southampton whereas Max was rather more ambitious and suggested we cover all of Hampshire.  The project was given a name as well; Green Hampshire. And then we were go for launch!

Adam and Max

Soon it became apparent that we had a success on our hands as so many people became interested and wanted to share details of the events we listed on Green Hampshire.  Perhaps in part thanks to its origins, twitter has always been a natural home for Green Hampshire and lots of people kindly retweeted our information to spread the word even further.  

The influence it could have came as a shock. I’ll never forget the first time I was at event when another volunteer told me they had turned up thanks to reading about it through Green Hampshire. “Have you heard of it?” they would ask.  

Green Hampshire has gone beyond even that original brief. Community groups have told us that new events have been created thanks to volunteers learning about projects that are going on in our area and wanting to initiate their own event.  This has come as a wonderful surprise and shows one way that Green Hampshire can move forward.

We are always looking for new environmental events to list on Green Hampshire so please do get in touch at events@greenhampshire.co.uk if you know of any. You can also find us on Facebook or tweet us at @GreenHampshire.  Our website at www.greenhampshire.co.uk has details about events in Hampshire that you can join in with.

We’re particularly delighted to support CrowdLeaf as a new project encouraging green innovation. This seems such a cleverly pragmatic way to support real change and this is something we are seeing more of all the time.  We’re looking forward to seeing this exciting idea grow through its implementation and will be there to help.

If you haven’t already, please do get involved with volunteering as it’s a very rewarding experience. Not only will you be doing something positive for the community and your local area, it can also be lots of fun.

 




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