Volunteers are vital to the ongoing success of the Downlands and Lower Mole Partnerships. If you're considering joining them, the following information may be helpful.
It is important that when carrying out work, often in areas with public access, you are not exposing yourself, your organisation or Surrey County Council to risk from third party claims. All volunteers under our guidance are indemnified under the council's insurance policy against claims for injury or damage to property. Providing you follow this guidance and any other specific advice from the task leader on site, you will be covered by this policy.
Personal injury cover with full benefits is provided for volunteers aged from 12 to 75 years old. Reduced benefits are available for volunteers aged from 75 to 80 years, provided they are working with prior knowledge of Surrey County Council. Any information given to us will be kept in the strictest confidence.
The Partnerships are always looking to offer new opportunities to our volunteers. Many of our volunteers have received training in various skills over the years. The more skills that our volunteers possess, the more we can achieve on site. If you would like training in skills such as minibus driving, brushcutter use or in the operation of plant machinery such as dumper trucks and mini excavators, please let us know. When we have enough interest we will organise our own training courses. These courses are free to volunteers who regularly attend our tasks.
There are three diseases to be aware of if you are involved in practical conservation work - Tetanus, Weil's and Lyme's Disease. However, don't panic, these are rarely encountered. The first two are easy to avoid with basic hygiene: wash your hands before eating and wash out any cut you get on site with plenty of water - we always have clean water available for this.
Tetanus is very painful and (if not diagnosed early) sometimes fatal. However, it is entirely preventable by making sure your immunisation is up to date. If in doubt, consult your doctor.
Weil's Disease is carried by rats and is associated with stagnant or still water. This can be avoided by covering any old or new cut or abrasion with a waterproof plaster before starting work on a pond, river or ditch. Consult your doctor if you get any flu like symptoms after working on one of these, and advise the doctor that you suspect Weil's disease, as many urban doctors may not have seen the disease before.
Lyme's Disease is carried by ticks, which are often found in long vegetation, especially bracken. Consult your doctor if a reddish spot, which increases in size, at the site of the bite is experienced, accompanied by flu like symptoms. Keeping exposed skin to a minimum and regular checking for ticks can help avoid getting bitten. If in doubt about any of these consult your doctor.
In addition, if you suffer from any illness, such as diabetes or epilepsy, then please let the staff know.
More general information is available on our What to Expect as a Countryside Volunteer page.