Volunteering opportunities available with the Council and how to volunteer
We are proud to support volunteering and we value the contribution people make by volunteering across our services, as well as for local organisations and communities.
We are searching for volunteers of all ages for a variety of opportunities available throughout Somerset. Whether you want to support vulnerable young people, help at your local library or make sure people can continue to enjoy the Somerset countryside – there are lots of ways you can get involved.
Find volunteering opportunities
There are many opportunities to volunteer for community resilience work through recognised voluntary agencies. If you join one of the agencies below, you can choose to help in the response and recovery of emergencies affecting Somerset communities.
The Somerset Local Authorities Civil Contingencies Partnership is made up of Somerset County and the four District Councils. The Civil Contingencies Unit (CCU) is the hub of the Partnership based at County Hall, Taunton. The Unit promotes community resilience in communities across Somerset and is the first point of contact for local authority services required during emergencies.
The voluntary agencies below are known as the Somerset Emergency Voluntary Agencies Group (SEVAG). It is a group of approximately 20 voluntary agencies who accept volunteers, give them resilience training, make checks for working with children and vulnerable people, and take part in exercises with responding agencies. SEVAG volunteers are available for callout to help the Civil Contingencies Unit with response and recovery in emergencies across Somerset.
This group consists of the following voluntary agencies:
Each voluntary agency in the group has its own capabilities and services, and can provide care and support, welfare, transport services, animal welfare, and so on.
There are also a number of locations where SEVAG provide volunteers to help run rest centres for those evacuated from their homes.
One of the key aims of the Rights of Way Team is to launch a range of initiatives that encourage people to get actively involved helping us maintain and improve the local rights of way network. You can volunteer to help us look after a range of public rights of way across the county in a parish or in town areas, along specific trails or on specific paths. So, if you love being outdoors and enjoy walking, cycling or riding your local paths, join us and get involved.
We appreciate all the volunteers who help us, and we understand that some people will be able to give more of their spare time than others. Any help you can offer, maybe with help from other local volunteers who may be willing to help you, will be greatly appreciated.
It’s important for us to highlight the important tasks of each volunteer role in each scheme so that you can make the most of your volunteering opportunity. There is more information about each of our volunteer roles in the ‘Downloads’ section of this page, or you can email the Volunteer and Trails Officer – ROWVolunteers@somerset.gov.uk
Brief descriptions of each role
Parish Path Liaison Officers (PPLOs) are volunteers who work in partnership with us nominated by their parish council. If you are unsure if your parish council has a PPLO vacancy, you can contact them or the team’s Volunteers and Trails Officer to find out. The PPLO role is one of the busiest of the roles. You are supported with a handbook, maps and a toolkit to help look after the local parish or town path network. PPLOs are expected to be able to clear vegetation regularly from around gaps, gates, stiles, signposts, bridges and at other points where paths might become difficult to use. If you have a particularly large area to monitor or you know of other people who want to be involved, you can share the role and there could be other opportunities to volunteer for the parish.
Adopt-a-Path volunteers take on the responsibility for regularly walking, riding or cycling local paths to keep them clear of seasonal growth that can hinder use. Participants will be offered a map of the paths, secateurs and gloves. It’s a great way to keep fit and healthy, and help the local community when you have the time.
Trail Watchers are volunteers who carry out a similar role to the Adopt a Path volunteers but they adopt sections to act as our eyes and ears on our promoted trails, the Coleridge Way, the River Parrett Trail, Neroche Herepath, the West Somerset Coast Path and the England Coast Path. You can adopt your favourite paths to help to make sure everyone else gets to enjoy them too.
The Somerset Strimmer scheme is where volunteers help cut back summer and winter vegetation along public footpaths and bridleways using strimmers. It is the most active of the roles because you must be capable of walking with and carrying machinery, including the kit that goes with it, and safety gear.
Again, it is a role working with a parish council, as they help to fund the training. After training, and a hand and arm vibration syndrome health survey, we loan a strimmer, with the relevant equipment, for the volunteer to use during the spring and summer months. It is collected in the winter for servicing.
If you are over 14 you could take part in our Work Experience Scheme if you are considering a career in countryside management. The scheme is designed for young people looking for a week of working with the various members of the Rights of Way team.
If you want to apply for any of these volunteer roles, use the button below to send us your contact details and the Volunteer and Trails Officer will get in touch with you to see how you would like to help.
There is more information in the ‘Downloads’ section on this page or you can email the Volunteer and Trails Officer – ROWVolunteers@somerset.gov.uk
If you enjoy a challenge and think you’d get a buzz out of helping young people develop the skills and attitudes they need to succeed in life, then we’d like to talk about you being a volunteer for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
By giving a little of your free time you’ll be able to help make a real difference to young people’s lives. Our DofE team needs people like you who can inspire young people to take part, encourage them to complete their programme and celebrate with them when they achieve an Award.
Our unique approach offers flexibility, not only for participants but for volunteers as well – there are loads of ways you can be part of this exciting work.
Our DofE volunteers enjoy creating a positive, supportive environment that’s bristling with energy for participants. They share our vision of every young person being able to undertake a DofE programme, and help develop and run DofE centres and groups, supporting young people to achieve their full potential.
There are many different roles for volunteers – have a look to see what you could do:
Set up and manage DofE in a youth club or community centre. As a co-ordinator, you’ll support other volunteer leaders and oversee DofE groups, looking after the administration, money and paperwork, helping with recruiting young people and other volunteers, and planning how the centre will operate. You’ll promote DofE locally and possibly help raise money to support the centre’s programmes.
You’ll need to be enthusiastic, good with young people and adults, well organised and able to look after paperwork, and be confident with a computer and the internet. You could also be a leader for a group in your centre.
Leaders are responsible for a DofE group – or two. You’ll lead, guide, inspire and encourage young people, agree their programme choices and approve their progress and pictures in eDofE – the online system that records your DofE programme and activities. You’ll keep young people motivated and on track, and produce the information they need.
You’ll need to be good with young people and paperwork and confident with a computer and the internet.
Supervisors are people with a good understanding of a participant’s chosen activity. You’ll help them set their goals and regularly meet them to support their progress, address any difficulties and adjust goals.
A supervisor is essential for the expedition section, as they are responsible for supervising and supporting a team of participants to ensure their safety and wellbeing while they are on expedition. The expedition supervisor could also be the DofE leader if they have the right experience and qualifications.
You’ll need to be good with young people and paperwork, and for the expedition section, have outdoor education experience and qualifications.
Assessors oversee a young person’s progress and agree the completion of a section of their programme. You’ll need knowledge of the activity they’re doing and to approve their progress and pictures in eDofE. It may be that you have experience or particular interests that will help young people complete a specific activity.
In the Expedition section, qualifying expeditions must be assessed by a competent adult who is approved by the Licensed Organisation and accredited by the DofE through the Expedition Assessor Accreditation Scheme.
You’ll need to be good with young people and paperwork, and for the Expedition section, to have outdoor education experience and qualifications.
Volunteers and helpers
Adults who can give time to help our DofE Leaders run a group can be volunteers. You may give general support, such as admin, help to run one section or give specific training, or organise fundraising or promotional activity.
While not all volunteers will be involved in the detailed running of programmes, everyone needs to understand DofE and work towards the same goals, share responsibility and maintain the overall quality of the centre’s work.
DofE Ambassador or Committee member
This is a varied role for adult volunteers to support all aspects of our DofE delivery across Somerset. We attend – and want to attend more – careers fairs, business meetings and all manner of promotional events to raise awareness of DofE among young people and adults, recruit more adult volunteers, raise money and provide training.
To do this we need people with a variety of skills and experience, including publicity and promotion, the internet and social media, marketing and event organisation, fundraising and administration, and networking and public speaking.
If you want to make a positive impact on young people and have any of the skills and experience mentioned above, we want to hear from you.
To find out more about becoming a DofE volunteer, and the training and support we provide, please contact our DofE team on 01823 349850 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome the support of volunteers. We recognise the important contribution they make to local services. Volunteers bring their experience, knowledge and skills and support libraries to deliver a range of opportunities and activities to our customers that also benefit the wider community.
These are examples of some of the volunteering opportunities
Come in and talk to staff in your local library about volunteering. We will be able to offer information and can advise you about the opportunities available.
Friends groups provide an important contribution to support and maintain awareness of a library in the local community. They work in partnership with the library service and local library teams. Their support helps promote the role of the library service, which provides access to resources and information, encourages reading, improves literacy, and contributes to learning, health and wellbeing, and creative opportunities.
Friends groups are involved in and support a wide range of activities, some of these include:
It is important that all friends groups are constituted, and have elected members and processes in place. Many friends groups also take out insurance cover for any activities they provide outside of library opening times. The library service can support and provide advice about setting up and establishing your friends group.
If you would like more information about setting up a friends group, or volunteering opportunities, please speak to staff at your local library or email email@example.com
Or use the ‘Ask us a question’ form on our website volunteering.somerset.gov.uk/
Volunteer expenses claim form
Volunteer Privacy Notice (print version)
Volunteer Privacy Notice
Volunteer with the Public Rights of Way Team documents
PPLO role information
Adopt a path leaflet
Adopt a path role information
Trail Watchers role information
Coleridge Way Trail Watcher scheme
River Parrett Trail Watcher scheme
West Somerset Coast Path Trail Watcher scheme
Somerset Strimmer Scheme role information
Work experience application form
Work experience co-ordinator’s guide
Parish Path Liaison Officers Handbook
Strimmer Scheme Handbook
Volunteers information – Warden Areas
Volunteer Newsletter September 2018
Volunteer Newsletter June 2018
Volunteering in libraries documents
Library Friends Flyer
Library Friends Groups and Stock
Library Friends Groups Constitution
Library Friends Groups Framework
Libraries Services Volunteer application form
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