Volunteer story: Fran Hick

Avatar for Fran Hick
By Fran Hick

Fran Hick wants to make her local countryside even better than it is! She helps CPRE Warwickshire run the group’s website and social media.

For over two years I have been trying to reduce my impact on the environment, making lots of changes to my behaviour (such as cycling to work) and what I purchase (avoiding plastic from my toiletries and buying less ‘stuff’). I decided to leave the workplace I was in to move towards environmental charity work and turn my passion for the environment into my career. It was at this point I approached CPRE Warwickshire to volunteer.

I was looking to do some volunteering that would help to enhance my local environment and after a search I came across the CPRE national website and clicked through to CPRE Warwickshire. I emailed John directly to see if I could be of any help. After a chat on the phone I came in and met John and Myles who were lovely and it all began from there!

Unwinding in the countryside

You’ll often find me taking pictures of natural beauty spots on dog walks, whether that is ancient trees or vibrant wildflower meadows, I love to capture the beauty that is all around us if we take the time to look.

Before we had our dog, Hugo, getting out in the countryside was a rarity – a few times a year at most. Now I explore my local countryside daily – always on the hunt for new routes to enjoy. At weekends we take advantage of our National Trust pass and take him round the estates that welcome dogs. I find my mental health improves after a walk in the countryside, as I am able to unwind, take in the picturesque natural environment and breathe in the fresh air.

Dog or no dog, I would encourage people to explore their local countryside to enjoy the many benefits it brings. I am passionate about preserving the beauty of nature and I regularly litter pick while walking. I think it is something we can all do and will make a real difference in protecting wildlife from harm. Unfortunately, once you start litter-picking, no matter where you are, you will see litter – it shows just how much needs to be done to combat this.

My volunteering

I volunteer up to three days a week in the office. The team have been very flexible to enable me to continue with my other volunteer commitments (I also volunteer at a nearby hospital). I am the social media and website volunteer for CPRE Warwickshire. I started volunteering for the team over six months ago which happened to coincide with the conversion to the new website. Having gone on a training session at head office I helped the team set up the content for the website ready to go live and have been keeping it updated ever since. I have learned a lot about using WordPress and it has been really rewarding seeing the website come together.

The other side of my role has been to make best use of social media as a platform to keep members informed and to attract new members by showing what CPRE Warwickshire are doing and what we stand for. It has been fun to engage people with projects such as CPRE’s Star Count, raising awareness of light pollution levels, and taking part myself. The work is quite varied and no two days are the same which makes things interesting and means that I have learned a lot.

Why I volunteer

I love volunteering. The team have been so welcoming and it has been so interesting to meet people with different experiences and learn about past and current projects they are working on for CPRE. It is really fulfilling to feel like you are contributing to a team who do such important work protecting Warwickshire from improper development and campaigning for a better, cleaner environment.

Everyone I have met through CPRE have been lovely, interesting people with a shared appreciation for the countryside. Whatever way you are thinking of getting involved you will be appreciated and supported by the team and in doing so you will be helping to protect the countryside near you.

Could you spare some time to volunteer for your local CPRE and stand with the countryside that you love? Learn more about the experience of volunteering for CPRE, the countryside charity, or drop us a line: volunteeringteam@cpre.org.uk.

CPRE Warwickshire volunteer, Fran Hick Fran Hick