Volunteering at Ferne
Our volunteers help the staff to do a wide variety of things both on the sanctuary and in our charity shops. Below are the roles we have available. Once regulations allow, we look forward to welcoming our volunteers back but please be aware that we are unable to accept new applications for volunteers until restrictions have been lifted.
You will need to be an active person for this role. We expect volunteers to work in the morning and, in that time, you will be expected to complete two long dog walks (approximately 45 minutes per walk). The terrain as you might expect in the Blackdowns is hilly and you may be walking through muddy wet fields at times. Some of the dogs are very strong on the lead and you will need to feel confident walking them.
As well as dog walking, we need our volunteers to help out with general care duties that will include washing up, kennel cleaning, moving and re-stocking of food. Outside, the paddocks need mowing during grass growing season and there is always poo picking in each paddock.
Cat Care Volunteer
We are looking for cat lovers willing to carry out general cleaning duties. Get to know our latest cats for re-homing by helping to keep their pens clean. This is mainly a cleaning role so please only apply if you really like cleaning!
This is an important role that is currently on hold due to Covid-19. We can’t say exactly when this will re-start – but it will! The role involves making sure that animals that have been adopted are safe and well in their new homes. You will need your own transport and good navigation skills. You will be talking to lots of people about their animals in a guided conversation, ensuring that the animal’s needs are being met and feeding that information back to the sanctuary. Persistence and good people skills essential.
Small Farm Volunteer
Small farm volunteers need to like being out in all weathers – because you will be! A fantastically varied section but with a heavy cleaning load. Duties include scrubbing out rabbit and guinea pig housing, cleaning, and feeding, there’s plenty of fruit and vegetable preparation as well and also washing up. Lots of small furries in need of plenty of TLC. We will need a strong commitment to come every week as there is a lot of training on the section.
Mechanically minded? Good at DIY? Estates volunteers muck in with the team. Tasks are many and varied from timber treating to repairing fences. Weeding and tidying of flowerbeds to keeping paths safe for visitors.
Help us feed our animals by growing fruit, vegetables and herbs. We have a lovely new polytunnel in which we can start off new plants and grow on others. We need help tending the raised beds and if you have a creative streak there are lots of pots and hanging baskets that need filling and tending. The memorial garden is also very important to us and to people who visit so needs regular care.
Visitor Services Volunteer
Help us ensure all of our visitors have a great time on the sanctuary. This role is on a rotation: week 1 gift shop, week 2, café, week 3 lunch cover. So, you will need to be comfortable using a PC and till as you will be using these in all these roles. The gift shops role includes stocking and taking money for purchases, the café is till work and helping clean down tables and loading the dishwasher. You may also be required to wait tables if the café is very busy. The lunch cover involves both gift shop and café giving other volunteers a break. There is also an hour of lunch cover in the visitor centre taking admissions money, renewing annual passes and answering visitor questions. Cash handling and PC skills to the fore. This role is available 7 days a week.
Charity Shop Volunteers
Steaming, stocking, cleaning, pricing, till work. All vitally important parts of a successful charity shop. We need at least 2 people each day to enable the shops to run effectively but the more the merrier! There is some opportunity in the charity shops to pick and choose your preferred work area but be prepared to muck in if needed.
Volunteer fundraiser support the fundraising team; you may get involved with on site or offsite fundraising helping to support the team to raise much needed funds for our animals
Animal rangers are the eyes and ears of the sanctuary. Our Animal Rangers are volunteers whose role is to walk around the sanctuary talking to visitors about our animals, helping ensure that our animals are safe and well, dealing with loose dogs, lost children, you get the picture. It’s a role in which you will be happy chatting to adults or children, you will feel confident in explaining the rules of a visit and willing to pick up litter, close gates that have been left open, pond dipping with kids, trail writing. A background in education or working with children would be really useful but not essential. Lots of weekend working required as well. We have a rota for the rangers so being flexible about when you volunteer would be great. Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience as full training can be provided!