I found out about (B)TCV when residential projects were working on the Pennine Way in Edale back in 1978, there was a photo in our local paper. I started going to training courses two years later and basically was away somewhere in Wales or Scotland on a residential every school and college holiday for the next few years.
The skills lead on to seasonal jobs in the Dales National Park and running a Conservation Group in St Andrews and to Hollybush purely by chance as my now wife came to Leeds to do a postgrad year and (B)TCV North Yorkshire had no Voluntary Officer vacancy that autumn.
After 18 months as a Project Officer and then Supervisor on the Community Programme with BTCV in Doncaster I came back to Hollybush as a VO.
Two years as Cookson (commercial funder) Training Officer led to six years as Leeds Project Officer and then twenty years as a local manager. Since July 2018 I’ve been focusing on Business Development, so why stay?
TCV is that special blend of the environment and people, particularly people who may have reasons not to have had the best life experiences. Our projects set out to give people a chance to do something practical in settings that make no judgements about their past. Our long and varied history is full of stories of people achieving and having a good time. Yes, there have been less good times, we are always striving to learn from these.
I’ve also been fortunate to be based in a special building, which celebrates 40 years of being a TCV site very shortly. It’s hard to say why but it just is the right place to do what we do.
I now spend most of my time on spreadsheets setting budgets, reporting on outcomes, typing text on funding bids to precise word counts. The buzz comes from selling what TCV does to funders, partners, customers in the cafe, getting the “successful bid letter” and most of all when volunteers make progress and come to say “thank you”.
This autumn I led five weekend wildlife walks, and really enjoyed sharing my limited knowledge of habitats, birds etc with those who haven’t had the chance to be out in the countryside since childhood.
Working at TCV is at is best a privilege.