I started volunteering at RSPB Sandwell Valley near Birmingham in March 2018 as a Visitor Volunteer. This role sees me at the very front of your RSPB experience, answering questions and serving you ice cream on a hot afternoon. On a normal day I spend my time doing a variety of different things: from craft work to making sure the centre is clean and welcoming. I decided to become a volunteer as a stepping stone after being away from the world of work due to a brief period of illness.

I have always liked birds but, before joining the RSPB, was only really familiar with your average garden bird. It’s crazy to me that I can now name some - granted, not all - of the birds we see on our feeders. It is usually the presence of the resident Parakeets enjoying a spot of lunch that brightens up my day. In having windows facing the feeders at RSPB Sandwell Valley you can sit for hours watching nature going about her business; I actually have to remind myself sometimes that I can’t just sit and watch the birds all the time, for there is often work to be done! The RSPB a lovely place to spend my time and I’m so glad I have the opportunity to make a real difference.

- Laura

If you're interested in volunteering with us come and pop into the visitor centre for a chat, or email us at sandwellvalley@rspb.org.uk. There are lots of different volunteering roles available at our reserve, including volunteering in the Hide and being part of our Tuesday or Friday morning work parties. You can read all about our volunteer's experiences on our blog.