Volunteering in the community takes time, dedication and a can-do attitude – which is why, not only is the work appreciated, but it’s also vital to helping charities achieve their missions.
Take, for example, the thousands of volunteers who get involved with beach cleans, plastic-free campaigning and fighting back against sewage in their communities every year, with our support.
Each year, thousands of pieces of waste are collected from the local environment by people all over the UK, before it can make its way into the sea and become a part of the food chain – making these volunteers the cornerstones of our overarching marine conservation ethos.
But what makes them do it? And why do they carry on?
Meg Lampard is a beach clean leader based in Fareham, Hampshire, who has been organising the Big Spring Beach Clean and Autumn Beach Clean events in her area for the last four years.
“It’s a great feeling getting a bunch of likeminded individuals together to tackle a problem and then being able to see the difference it makes.
People are happy to come along to be by the sea, so the events are always upbeat and, knowing it’s a Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) clean, the council and partners know that all the boxes will be ticked as well, so are happy to let me get on with it.”
Growing up in Cornwall, Meg says she was aware of SAS’s early campaign to clean up bathing waters, where she spent a of time as a child.
The work at the time is what inspired her to get involved later on.
“SAS gained a lot of kudos amongst the local community for the work they did back then and it’s good to be able to give something back now as a thank you.
It feels good to get out and see change happen and once you’ve tackled your first clean, the rest seems fairly straightforward!”
During her cleans, Meg likes to provide drinks and snacks, with the help of local partners, so people have a chance to chat together after and make new connections each time.
She also says the initial setting up is quite simple – involving a few quick emails and phone calls to her local council before then contacting her local network of groups to help raise awareness for the clean itself.
“We clean right next to the Haven National Nature Reserve and it’s good to know that the birds and wildlife have a better chance of surviving here, as there will be less plastic on the beach.
I partner up with other local groups too, so it’s definitely a community event.”
It’s this dedication and commitment to her local environment that means Meg is now getting ready to take on Plastic Free Fareham, in a bid to impassion local businesses as much as the local people to do their part in ridding the world of single-use plastic.
But, for those thinking about getting involved in their own clean, she added:
“SAS make it simple with a step by step guide to running a clean.
It may seem daunting but the feeling of accomplishing the clean is incredibly uplifting.”
Article written on behalf of SAS by Hazel Murray