Volunteering Holidays and Days in Devon | Ideas




removing litter from beach

Thinking about a holiday where you volunteer your time for others or the environment? You are not alone, lots of us are turning to volunteering as a way of connecting with nature and our community after the isolation of the pandemic. Volunteering is not only good for others, the environment, its good for us. You do not need to go abroad to experience these benefits and give to others. Devon’s rural and sometimes wild land and coastal habitats create opportunities for us to experience and learn something new through volunteering. These opportunities can be your holiday or just a day or two.

What Sort of Holiday Volunteer Opportunities are there?

There are several options for volunteer opportunities or what is sometimes called working holidays. The simplest opportunities can be a days volunteering with a charity whilst you are on holiday in Devon. Some of these are labour intensive, perhaps helping with tidying or cleaning a river or hedgerow, others are perhaps suited especially for families and could be doing a nature survey or beach clean.

Longer-term opportunities are available with larger charities, some of these come with accommodation and the payment of basic expenses.

The pandemic of course affected the ability for some of these charities and business to operate so we are slowly seeing an increase in opportunities as well as demand from the public who are keen to help out, give back, and experience new opportunities.

Check This Before Taking a Volunteering Holiday in Devon UK

  1. If appropriate check with the organiser what clothing and footwear are needed. You may need to bring safety boots for example for some jobs. Something that is easily forgotten if you are thinking of packing for the beach. Hats and sun cream are essential for outdoor work in the summer.
  2. What insurance is offered or needed for the work, especially important for manual or farm work? Who is responsible for arranging this.
  3. How rural is the location is a car needed etc?
  4. Consider your level of fitness – discuss the activities with the organiser, especially important if you are not used to manual work.
  5. Make sure you are clear on commitment from either side and if possible seek out reviews or references from previous volunteers if there is a residential or long term commitment. How much time do you have off duty?
  6. If accommodation is offered is it shared, what is the standard, do you need to bring your own bedding?

How to Find Volunteering Holidays in Devon

Here are my recommended schemes for you to consider:

Countryside Job Service – list volunteer experiences from all over the UK, particularly Devon. Currently, there are a variety of volunteer roles, some with and without accommodation.

Youth Hostel Association Volunteering If you have ever stayed with the Youth Hostel Association in the UK you’ll know that you can meet a wide range of visitors, it’s not just about ‘young people.’ You can find a YHA in a number of locations in the UK. Very often they kindly offer accommodation for your services. For example, at the moment there is a role located on one of their Dartmoor residences.

The Royal Society of Protection of Birds (RSPB) You do not need to be an expert in birds to volunteer for the RSPB. The RSPB is a national charity here in the UK – they offer a wide range of opportunities to volunteer, and occasionally there will be onsite accommodation.

Find a Host | WWOOF UK Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, UK. ‘Woofing’ is a fairly well established platform in the world of volunteering and perhaps has the widest range of opportunities here in Devon, UK as well as abroad. Indeed it has been going for 50 years.

Day Opportunities for Adult Volunteers – Devon UK

Requirements change, the advice is to contact the charities of interest in advance of your holiday to ensure that any paperwork or pre-training / advice is given.

Help the Donkey Sanctuary – East Devon is home to The Donkey Sanctuary, the area is stunning with some spectacular views of the hills and coast. This opportunity is not hands-on with the donkeys, because it takes a bit of training for that and requires longer-term commitment. There are opportunities to help with the maintenance of the environment around the sanctuary. Admission to the Donkey Sanctuary is free so you can always visit the Donkeys on another day.

Barn Owl Conservation Trust – They run several conservation days throughout the month where you can help them with conservation projects. They also have a number of events throughout the year, including evening walks which you can attend. See their events page.

Devon Voluntary Action – DVA have a volunteer ‘job’ website which enables the volunteer to search for roles depending on their interest. In addition there is a search function to search for short term volunteer opportunities. One example was volunteering at a charity music festival.

Volunteer Conservation Events for Families In Devon

There are short term opportunities that can be fitted into your holiday in Devon that give a fun addition to your holiday as well as an educational opportunity for children about the environment and conservation. These ideas can be done as stand alone tasks or joined up for a number of days activities.

Do a beach clean through the Marine Conservation Society or organise your own. On a personal note most times when I am on the beach, I will find a piece of plastic or rubbish that should not be there. Often it is something from a picnic, fishing line or some other plastic item that has washed up on the shore. We know that plastic can stay in the ocean for hundreds of years. I often have a spare bag in the car to use for any plastics or rubbish I collect. One note of caution if you do find a dead animal or fish on the beach, be sure not to touch there is a small personal risk.

Search for Seaweed – Another opportunity through the Marine Conservation Society. You can sign up to do a simple survey for them. A fantastic opportunity for kids (and big kids) to feel engaged with our environment.

Please note I do try to keep this site up to date, but as things change often, it is recommended that before travelling any distance you do your own checks.

If you wish to feedback on the site content please get in touch.

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