Category Archives: Volunteers

Job – Voluntary Orchard Manager

Friends of Bourne Wood: Voluntary Orchard Manager

The Friends of Bourne Wood (FOBW) established a community orchard on land adjacent to Bourne Wood in 2012. The orchard is now fully planted with a diverse mixture of fruit trees, many of which are sponsored by local people or organisations. The varieties planted range from old local ones to well-known varieties. A bed of raspberries has also been included, as an extra interest. A wildlife pond has recently been commenced.

The day to day management of the orchard is managed by volunteers ultimately overseen by the committee of FOBW the latter which includes representatives of the Forestry Commission (FC) from whom the land is leased. Weekly work parties take place between 10 and 12 noon on most Saturdays.

The Friends are now seeking a voluntary orchard manager whose overall role will be to:

Work closely with the community orchard volunteers, FOBW and FC to deliver the objectives of the orchard management plan

More specifically the role will entail:

  • Undertaking the key tasks and meeting the targets from the management plan which include:
  • Complete the pond and ensure it is fenced
  • Ensure the fruit trees are pruned annually and the bases are kept free of vegetation
  • Ensure the paths and orchard are mown according to the stipulated frequency
  • Undertake regular checks of the benches, picnic tables and noticeboard and arrange for repairs and wood preservation, as necessary
  • Organise and plan the weekly work parties and provide management and supervision for the volunteers
  • Ensure that the necessary tools and consumables are available
  • Where necessary, liaise with and organise any third-party work parties
  • Establish an orchard working group (a sub-committee of the main FOBW committee)
  • Revise the orchard management plan in liaison with FC and the FOBW Committees
  • Attend the FOBW committee meetings and provide progress reports


  • The post holder will have delegated authority from the FOBW committee to organise and direct the work parties and establish an orchard working group sub-committee
  • ·The revised orchard management plan will need to be signed off by the FOBW committee including FC
  • Any proposed expenditure for purchase of equipment and tools will need to be agreed in advance by the FOBW Committee

Time commitment

  • Estimating the time commitment for this new role is difficult but it is anticipated that the time input will be an annual average of around 3-4 hours a week.

Key skills required

  • Strong communication and organisational skills. Familiar with networking with voluntary and statutory organisations and volunteers with a range of skills

Diplomacy skills

  • Some understanding of horticulture (fruit trees) is desirable but not essential

Please send an expression of interest to including a brief statement of suitability for the post by the 2nd November 2017.

Creating A Wildlife Pond

The Friends of Bourne Wood have been in the process of creating a wildlife pond in the Community Orchard for several months.

This has now become a reality thanks to support from Bakkavor with a couple of work parties.  The pond was started in November 2016, after the liner was donated by the Forestry Commission,  but adverse weather stopped play, so finally last week it was completely dug, with the liner fitted and filled with water.

Everyone seemed to have great fun digging the pond! Photograph Tracy London

Everyone seemed to have great fun digging the pond, and it has been great to see it completed and full of water.

There is still plenty to do, with plants still to be inserted, and the area made secure.

Those visiting at the weekends can see the project develop further, and hopefully enjoy the wildlife attracted when completed.  The orchard is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays 10am to 6pm (dusk in winter).  There is a work party every Saturday morning from 10am to 12pm, for general maintenance of the orchard – which anyone is welcome to join.

The Friends would like to give a huge thank you to Bakkavor, and to all the volunteers! Photograph Tracy London

The Friends would like to give a huge thank you to Bakkavor, and to the individuals – Carla Collick, Tracy London, Anna Moffitt, John Gomez, Nicole London, Richard Thorold, Shannon Hasbury and
Jennie Beasley, and to Cindy and Mick Curtis for managing the project.

Bourne Woods Needs You!

Bourne Woods Group set sights on achieving 500 volunteers by February 2015!

Did you know your local Woods are over 1,000 years old and once stretched as far as Northamptonshire? In 1086 the Woods were owned by Oger the Breton, a French knight with pots of money and bags of influence (despite sounding like a character from a children’s movie).

These days, the Woods are owned by the Forestry Commission and promoted by The Friends of Bourne Wood – a local community group with pots of enthusiasm and bags of energy, but in need of volunteers!

That’s why the Friends Group has identified a target of achieving 500 volunteers on their books by February 2015 and is actively seeking support from the local community. Group Secretary Sarah Roberts explains: “We were really disappointed to have to cancel our popular Santa in the Woods event this year, but we just can’t put these events on if we don’t have enough people to help on the day.

“What we’re looking for are people who are prepared to offer a few hours of their time just to help out at events. This could be anything from physical help putting up a marquee and lifting tables, to running stalls and guiding visitors. Our plan is to operate a rota system so volunteers will only need to help for a few hours on the day.”

The next major event in the Group’s calendar is an Easter activities day on 6th April with a trail through the Woods and other attractions currently in planning. If you can help and commit a few hours of your time for this and other events, you’ll be securing the future of the Woods and ensuring local residents continue to enjoy one of our most precious resources.

If you would like to put your name down and volunteer, please complete the form on our contact us page. And if you’re still not sure, take a look at the Q&A put together by the Friends of Bourne Wood.

A final word from Sarah Roberts: “We have lots of ideas for events next year but are always delighted to receive suggestions, donations and offers of support in addition to volunteers. If you run or work for a local business and can contribute to our community events in other ways, please get in touch. We look forward to welcoming you as a Friend of Bourne Woods!”

Friends 500 Q&A

Are you building an army? Why do you need so many people?

Our main focus is to create a ‘pool’ of people who we can call on to help us run our major events. Believe it or not, some events need up to 50 volunteers to run smoothly and sometimes we have to cancel popular activities (like this year’s Santa in the Woods) because we just don’t have enough people to call on. There are currently around 100 Friends in the Group, but experience tells us we need to register many more to stand a chance of staffing major events. This is because our events tend to coincide with holiday periods, so the more people we have to call on, the greater chance we have of staging popular events.

How much time do I need to dedicate as an event volunteer?

Our major events can run for a whole day or half a day, but we aim to split the time into slots for volunteers, so we won’t need to ask you to do more than two or three hours. Events are nearly always at weekends or bank holidays.

What kind of work will I be doing?

It depends on the event, but we need strong people to help erect the marquee and carry things, people to run craft and food stalls for example, people to direct visitors, and people to help set up and clear away anything related to the event.

What happens if it rains?

We’ll carry on and hope the sun comes out! It’s a good idea to bring waterproofs and wellies just in case.

Will I get paid?

No, I’m afraid not. The Friends of Bourne Wood is an entirely voluntary group with no funding for wages. However, we can guarantee you’ll leave feeling as though you’ve contributed to something valuable, and you’ll have enjoyed yourself and met new people too.

Why do you need to run events in the first place?

We believe our events help encourage people to come into the Woods who might otherwise not use them. It’s our way of promoting the Woods as widely as possible and raising much-needed funds. We are a non-profit group, so any money we make from events goes straight back into projects and other events in the Woods.

What’s so special about the Woods?

Bourne Woods is an ancient site full of important flora and fauna. In the UK, about 10% of our landscape is made up of wooded areas; this is much less than the European average of 44% so it’s important to protect what we have left. The Woods are home to a huge range of insects, animals, trees, plants and wild flowers and now houses a community orchard of over 70 mixed fruit trees. Woodland benefits everyone in terms of health, education, recreation and conservation and we are lucky in Bourne to have such an accessible and beautiful wooded area on our doorstep.

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

The minimum age is 18, but we’re happy to discuss school or college volunteer projects on an individual basis