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Volunteer stories: Patricia, CPRE Isle of Wight

Volunteer stories: Patricia, CPRE Isle of Wight

We spoke to Patricia Almond, CPRE Isle of Wight's litter pick co-ordinator, about her experiences as a CPRE volunteer.

1. My ideal day in the countryside is….

Walking my chocolate Labrador, Hedley, and finishing up with a cup of tea and fresh crab sandwich at my beach hut overlooking The Solent.

2. What made you decide to volunteer with CPRE?

I used to go out around my own village picking up litter. When I retired I made a comment on the local website about keeping the Isle of Wight looking good for visitors, then I was persuaded to join and be a litter pick co-ordinator. I have been doing it for nearly 10 years now!

3. Which activity or activities do you support?

My voluntary role includes registering groups who have the motivation to clean up hotspots but need the kit to do it. We have built up kit bags to lend out and have awards to present. Over the years I have presented certificates to many community groups and given assemblies in local schools and groups like scouts and guides. We also sponsor young people who are working towards their D of E awards. I attend committee meetings, write reports and man publicity stands.

4. How often do you volunteer with CPRE and how do you fit this around your other commitments?

During the spring and summer months the work is ongoing with the autumn winding up presentations. I am also a volunteer guide at the lighthouse a couple of days a week and help out with an international exchange group. And I have to keep up with the gardening!

5. What do you personally get out of your volunteering experience?

I benefit from this personally because I like to see the Island looking tidy and it helps with the local economy.

6. What aspect of your volunteering with CPRE do you find the most rewarding?

I like to see the Government responding to lobbying by CPRE i.e. new initiatives on use of plastics, the bottle deposit return scheme.

7. What is the thing that has most challenged you in your role and what have you learnt from it?

I feel most challenged by the increase in roadside litter which, because of the dangers in the narrow lanes, we can't always do something about. I've also learned to keep a good record of equipment loaned out or it walks!

8. Has your volunteering with CPRE enhanced your passion for the countryside and if so how?

Not really, as I would not live anywhere else but I am pleased, when reading the magazine, that lots of other people feel the same way.

9. What would you say to someone considering volunteering with CPRE?

I would encourage other people to volunteer because it is everyone's job to look after our surroundings. Passing litter by is as bad as putting it there in the first place. I say, ‘What did you do about it?` I am glad that some rambling groups are now picking up litter as they walk. Furthermore, don`t join CPRE just for the social events and the kudos join in with the practical activities and make a difference.

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