Frequently asked questions about Gloucester Vale Conservation Volunteers:
- What is GVCV?
- What sort of tasks do you do?
- Where do tasks take place?
- Who are your members?
- When do tasks take place?
- What do you provide?
- How are GVCV funded?
- Why do volunteers join?
- What expenses do you pay?
- What would I need to join in?
- How do I get in touch?
- Who designed your website?
GVCV is an independent group of volunteers who do practical, outdoor tasks for charities, public bodies and not-for-profit groups. The majority of our tasks are done for the National Trust, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucester City Council and charitable trusts that do not have the staff, volunteers or the budget to do the work themselves.
At heart we are conservation volunteers and primarily do tasks in three groups:
- Development and maintenance of woodland, wetland and grassland habitats:
- Planting trees, hedges, reeds, etc
- Clearance of scrub from grassland, trees from wetland, laurel from woodland, etc
- Thinning and coppicing trees
- Enabling the public to access the countryside:
- Building gates, stiles and bridges
- Footpath clearance, grading and steps
- Maintaining traditional crafts:
- Dry-stone walling
We also do some tasks that arguably have little environmental conservation benefit, but which do have heritage, archaeological or aesthetic value.
See our task types page for more information.
Most tasks are in Gloucestershire within 15 miles of Cheltenham. The most regular are:
- Crickley Hill – National Trust or Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
- Countryside sites near Ebworth, such as Blackstable Wood – National Trust
- Alney Island, Severnside Project (near Hempsted) and Netheridge Farm – Gloucester City Council
- Woodland near Coopers Hill – Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
- Butterfly meadows on Stinchcombe Hill – Stinchcombe Hill Charitable Trust
- Haresfield Beacon – National Trust
- Buckholt Woods near Cranham – Natural England
- Kemerton Wildlife Reserves – Kemerton Charitable Trust
- Ruskin Mill near Nailsworth – Ruskin Mill Educational Trust
- Sherborne Estate – National Trust
Anybody who turns out on a task is considered to be a member. There is no membership fee and no minimum attendance requirements, but members do have to be at least 16 years old. The members are drawn from all walks of life and have a wide variety of reasons for volunteering. They are willing workers and, across the group, will take on pretty much any type of outdoors work. A fair number of the members and, in particular, the team leaders are in full-time work so we only do tasks on Sundays.
Since most of our volunteers are in full-time work, we only do tasks at weekends and mostly on Sundays. We start work around 10am and aim to finish by 4pm. We provide pick-up points in Gloucester (normally the station or other points by arrangement) and in Cheltenham (by Imperial Gardens opposite the Queens Hotel) at either 9:00 or 9:30 depending on the distance to the task so that we can be at the site around 9:45.
GVCV provides hand tools, insurance for its volunteers, first aiders, task leaders, training, tea, coffee and squash, and, not least, good biscuits.
Our costs (insurance tools, training, expenses, etc) are covered by a small charge that we make to our customers. The organisations we do tasks for pay a fixed fee per volunteer per day, currently £5. We review this figure regularly to ensure it meets our costs. We do not make any profit.
There are probably more answers to this than we have volunteers. These include combinations of:
- interest in the environment;
- doing something of value;
- helping charities and non-profit organisations increase what they can achieve with their limited resources;
- exercise in the outdoors;
- learning traditional skills;
- doing practical work;
- simply being outside in a pleasant environment; etc.
We pay a mileage allowance for drivers who do pick-ups for other volunteers (to encourage people to share). Mileage starts at the Gloucester and Cheltenham pick-up points.
Mainly you need the energy, motivation and sense of humour needed to do physical work outside in all weathers. Old clothes that you don’t mind getting damaged, solid footwear for most tasks (steel toe-capped work boots are recommended), wellingtons for planting in wetlands and waterproofs just in case it rains. We supply work gloves but in the interests of fit and hygiene you may prefer to bring your own. We supply tea, coffee and biscuits but you will normally need to bring your own lunch. You will also need an old bag or rucksack to carry your gear.
The website, artwork and photographs have been provided by GVCV volunteers. The logo and drawings were created by Carmel, a local artist. All rights are reserved so please do not use the images, artwork or design without prior consent.