Louise Clubley is retired and volunteers for the Surrey Green Network
Can you tell us a bit about the Surrey Green Network?
"The network was set up a few years ago, and brings together people from across Surrey who are keen to care for the environment. The aim of the group is to help encourage people in Surrey to recycle more and cut down what they throw away. We do this through talking to people at all sorts of events throughout the county, from school fetes and food festivals, to events where the network has been invited to talk about different aspects of recycling and waste prevention. For example, I talked to a gardening group who wanted to learn more about composting."
Why did you decide to become a volunteer for the network?
"I'm absolutely passionate about reducing waste, so love being involved for that reason. Seeing things come back around and being reused is so rewarding."
How much time do you need to give as a Surrey Green Network Volunteer?
"Volunteers with the network are encouraged to give around 30 hours a year but it's completely up to you which events you get involved with and when – you can tailor it to what suits you."
What do you find most rewarding about the role?
"I think what we're doing is important. We always get a good response when we speak to people about cutting down on waste, and it's rewarding when people realise how small changes can make a big difference. I also get to meet so many different people, which gives my life a whole new aspect."
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of becoming a volunteer?
"Whatever your interests, you'll be able to find a volunteering role that will appeal to you, and if you're passionate about it then it's easier to find the time to volunteer. I've also found that the more you get involved in volunteering, the more time you feel you have. Managing to reorganise and re-energise yourself to do something that you love is a great feeling and you'll always make a difference, whether you're helping in someone's garden, keeping someone company or handing out a leaflet. The network is just one of the volunteering roles I'm involved in – there is a huge choice of opportunities out there covering all manner of activities."
To speak to someone about volunteering where you live, get in touch with your local Volunteer Centre.
Thinking about volunteering in your retirement but not sure where to start? Check out our guide which has everything you need to know about volunteering in retirement and why you should give it a try.