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Park Life – Get involved in Staff Volunteering across North Ayrshire

Volunteering provides the perfect opportunity to meet-up and reconnect outdoors. So why not take advantage of the Council’s volunteering policy and find an opportunity for your team?

Be inspired by our shout-outs below of our colleagues who have already taken part over at Eglinton Country Park.

Well done to Employee Services!

First up is Employee Services who volunteered in February via the Get Re-connected programme – our volunteering initiative for staff.

Park Ranger, Helen McDowall put the team to task as they got the shears out to cut back encroaching branches to widen a path near Tournament Bridge.

The group commented: “Overall, a fantastic day out and great opportunity for team building,” with another colleague sharing: “Some of us wouldn’t necessarily have the chance to do this in our busy lives, so being able to do a volunteering during working hours and giving back to our community is fantastic and should definitely be encouraged.”

Ranger Helen commented: “Thank you to everyone who has volunteered with us so far this year.

“From a Ranger Service perspective, it’s brilliant to have extra hands to help keep our greenspaces as accessible as possible, and working on the paths at Eglinton is always a benefit, as they are in constant need of maintenance. It’s a great way to boost your physical and mental health and wellbeing too; being active outdoors in the fresh air, whilst doing something so worthwhile – it’s a win-win!”

Get Re-connected sessions (otherwise known as planned staff volunteering days) are happening right across North Ayrshire between now and October,  so why not give one a go as a real team effort? Visit the booking page to sign up now – let’s do this!

Get-Reconnected is part of the Council’s employee volunteering programme which allows for up to 2 days a year per employee. Find out how to get involved via Get Re-connected on Connects.

1 Carole Devoy & Claire Tombs
2 Sam Thomas, Gail Donaldson, Fiona Gray & Alison Larmour
3 Alison Larmour, Fiona Gray, Amanda Mullen and Gail Donaldson
4 Angela Crawford & Sam Thomas

Education Resources make a difference at Eglinton Community Gardens

Hosted across North Ayrshire, Get Re-Connected events are available for managers to book via Connects. Gail Donaldson is one such line manager who teamed up with Senior Countryside Ranger, Linda Tedford on a recent session, this time at Eglinton Community Gardens.

One volunteer, Education Resources manager, Carole Devoy said: “Nine of us took part. We now work in an agile way, so don’t always have the chance to be together in the office at the same time. This was a great opportunity to get together, enjoy some exercise in the fresh air and give a little something back to our community. Thanks so much to Gail for organising and to Linda for a great volunteering session.”

Senior Education Resources officer, Catherine Ann Grant added: “We had a great time together helping with various tasks including tree planting and laying wood chip beds. It was certainly an enjoyable experience away from the busy office environment.”

The next session will be on Wednesday 19 April. Ranger Linda is keen to encourage more teams to get involved: “Located at the entrance to the country park – we have big aspirations to provide assistance and support for local communities via Eglinton Community Gardens.

“It’s a place for people to find themselves, meet new friends, develop new skills, and keep fit and active, all whilst growing healthy fruit and vegetables, not just for their benefit, but for that of the wider community through our community hubs, larders and other projects.

“The impact that a corporate team can have during a Get Re-connected day is huge, we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has joined us to volunteer so far. Those many hands help the gardens make a giant leap forward in its efforts to accomplishing its goals to create a beautiful and productive space for everyone to enjoy.”

Email: to take part in the next session.

Local volunteers have secateurs and shovels at the ready!

Local volunteers are also coming out in force to tackle problem pathways, clear vegetation and improve drainage. Led by Seasonal Ranger, Stuart Bell, the Path Stewardship programme brings together local volunteers on a Monday morning and staff are welcome to get involved too.

Stuart commented: “The work we are doing is a collaborative effort between the Ranger Service and Trinity Active Travel Hub. I’m so thankful to everyone who has taken the time to volunteer so far, the team are really inspiring and not afraid of grafting and getting stuck right in.

We regularly patrol pathways around the park – especially on the wetter, dreicher days to identify issues.

“The start of the year also provides a great window of opportunity because the ground is soft and easy to tackle, so we’ve been able to make a lot of improvements lately.

Pictured top right, former North Ayrshire classroom assistant (now retired), Hilary commented: “Over the last few months we have enjoyed areas of Eglinton Park that we have never explored before, we have met very interesting people and are already seeing a massive difference to the areas we have worked on together.

“Thank you to Stuart for helping us to make a difference at the park. As is said, “many hands make light work”. Being outside benefits us both physically and mentally and allows us to give back to the community now we have retired. I read recently, volunteers must not be underestimated, Noah’s Ark was built by volunteers, the Titanic by professionals… Enough said!”

Fellow volunteer Kenny (top right picture, far left)added: “I took the plunge and popped along to the Monday volunteering session a couple of months ago and haven’t looked back. I met a wide range of friendly people from different backgrounds. It’s a very rewarding experience, I would highly recommend it.”

The team recently also worked tirelessly at the cross of the avenue and Tournament bridge paths taking back overgrowth and opening things up a bit. It was here that Stuart snapped a picture of some lovely blossoming drops – a welcoming first sign of Spring that he wanted to share.

Join in on the Monday session by emailing:

Did you know that as well as Get Re-connected, staff can also take advantage of the Council’s Employee Volunteering Policy where you can have up to 14 days paid leave for volunteering in North Ayrshire. Find out more on Connects.

Feel good Fridays with The Conservation Volunteers

Finally, if Friday mornings are a good time for you, Park Ranger, Joanne Johnstone’s Conservation Volunteers are always on the look-out for extra hands.

The group have also been working over at Eglinton Community Gardens to clear some turf and allow more trees to be planted and have recently carried out maintenance on the young hedgerow.

Joanne commented: “The Friday volunteers are a great bunch of individuals who carry out various activities to help manage the habitats around the Country Park.

“Together we carried out some hedge laying of our foraging hedgerow, a traditional skill that is vital in managing such a habitat for wildlife as well as for future generations.

“The volunteers have also tackled pruning of our orchard trees, removal of invasive species, path installation, management of small woodlands and our meadows; which are vital for our pollinators. Our next project will be helping to get our recently upgraded pond area ready for some planting.  As a Ranger Service we would be lost without the generous input of our volunteers.”

Contact if you’d like to sign up your team to get involved.

Whether you’re missing colleagues, want to welcome a new team member or simply would like to give back to your community, visit the Get Re-connected Connects webpage for the upcoming volunteering opportunities events calendar.

Stay tuned to other opportunities across North Ayrshire by following the Ranger Service on Facebook:

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