The number of volunteers registered with the National Park Authority increased by 23% this year, already surpassing the five-year target. The amount of volunteer hours has increased by nearly 11%, also representing higher than expected progress against the target.
Volunteer numbers increased from a baseline of 172 to 212 by the end of the year, and volunteer hours increased from 13,758 to 15,231. The significant increase in volunteers was due to pilot projects that were delivered during the year, particularly work to reach more young people and other groups under-represented in the programme. The National Park Authority now plans to uphold the number of volunteers at the current level and focus on further increasing the diversity of the range of people accessing the opportunities. The increase in volunteer hours was also due to the pilot projects as well as support provided by the National Park Authority to partners to offer more volunteering opportunities. The latter totalled 3,198 of the hours for the year and was delivered through a combination of new partnerships, new opportunities and an increase in existing partner-led volunteering. It is anticipated that progress towards the volunteer hours target will be more measured over the remaining four years.
I have found volunteering with the park hugely rewarding for both my physical and mental wellbeing. I can’t think of a better way to spend my free time.
Volunteers support delivery across the Outcomes of the Partnership Plan. The impacts of volunteering are also felt by the volunteers themselves, when surveyed in 2017/19 more than 80% of our volunteers reported that volunteering had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
There continues to be strong potential for overall growth in the National Park Authority programme, due to high levels of both the interest in volunteering and opportunities for activities to be undertaken. Our volunteers travel far and wide to offer their services, as shown in the map below. However, this growth is constrained by internal capacity, more cannot be delivered with current capacity without compromising the quality of the programme.
Please note that the findings for this indicator relate to the number of volunteers registered with the National Park Authority. It does not measure all volunteer activity across the National Park.
Progress on this indicator contributes to the following National Outcomes:
Progress on this indicator contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals: