Friday, 16 April 2010
After the earlier suggestion of one of our followers, I've decided to encourage you to try volunteering.
In a doom and gloom recession, volunteer work is not only a great way to make your CV stand out, but a fantastic method for making contacts in your profession of choice.
As a animal lover I spent several blissful months volunteering at Shepreth Wildlife Park outside of Cambridge. The people were absolutely lovely, I toned up loads from all the hard work and really felt like I had helped improve the day-to-day lives of animals. There's nothing as happy as a well-fed pygmy goat.
But, secretly, the best thing was the perks no-one had told me about. Shepreth is home to two tame wolves which members of the public can pay to have a cuddle with. As a volunteer I got to go into their enclosure several times, and went home covered in wolf paw-prints and glowing with pleasure.
Feeding the lemurs was another definite high point, as the furry creatures climb on your shoulders to get the best bits (banana) and will let you stroke their soft fur and furry tails for as long as you keep the fruit coming. Bliss.
I know a lot of my friends have volunteered abroad, which not only makes you feel great, but can be a good way to keep travel costs down. I volunteered at a wildlife orphanage in South Africa, which was hard work and long hours, but meant I got cheap accommodation and a chance to go on some breath taking safaris which I never could have afforded otherwise. Cuddling a baby lion made the hard work all seem worth it.
Now I write copy for the RSPB, fund raise for the Wildlife Trust and write several free wildlife articles for various websites. Whilst this takes a sizeable chunk out of my free time, I never regret it. I've met some wonderful people with the same passion for wildlife, and I will continue with it all for as long as I can.
Have you volunteered abroad? Or in England? Let us know your thoughts.