Celebrating Chester Zoo volunteers

16.10.2020

During October and throughout the year, Age-friendly Cheshire West and its partners are recognising and celebrating the contribution of older residents and workers.

We are also recognizing the vital contributions being made during the pandemic.

Today we are celebrating the contribution of Chester Zoo volunteers.

Volunteers have played a key role welcoming visitors back to Chester Zoo and making sure they remain safe.

The Year of Volunteering campaign, which is run jointly by Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) and Cheshire West and Chester Council, celebrates the role volunteers play in their communities.

October marks Older Volunteering Month, looking at how older people across west Cheshire are making a real difference through volunteering.

After three months of closure pushed the UK’s biggest charity zoo to the edge of extinction, Chester Zoo was given the green light to reopen in early July in line with the latest NHS and Government guidance.

Volunteers have played an important part in the zoo becoming COVID secure, forming part of a Welcome team dotted around the site to guide people and offer a reminder about social distancing, sanitising hands and wearing face coverings.

The Save Our Zoo campaign saw an unprecedented number of adoption packs sold to support the zoo. More than 14,000 packs had to be processed, printed and packed, which wouldn’t have been possible without the volunteers at Chester Zoo.

Lindsay Marston, Volunteer Manager at Chester Zoo, said: “Connecting with our volunteers has been so important as we wouldn’t have been able to do what we have done without their support.

“Some people couldn’t wait to get back volunteering, but others want to stay at home so it’s important we provide volunteering opportunities online for people to get involved with.

“We’ve provided training and support for all our volunteers to make sure we’re COVID secure and they felt confident to return to their roles. Some of them have even been volunteering from home for our zoo.

“Many volunteers have expressed how important volunteering has been for their health and wellbeing. We know that lockdown was an isolating experience for some of our volunteers.” 

Margaret, who volunteers at Chester Zoo, added: “It’s been lovely to have the opportunity to volunteer once again at the zoo following lockdown.

“The time in isolation became difficult so being part of the Volunteer Adoption Pack team was great because I really enjoy meeting new people. I’ve really loved being able to spend time with volunteers that I don’t normally meet with.”

If you have a volunteering story you’d like to share, please email enquiries@chesterva.org.uk.

Don’t forget nominations for the Year of Volunteering Awards are still open. The deadline for all nominations is 30 October.

Nominate worthy volunteers for awards