30 Nov Why volunteer for Dean Farm Trust?
Hello! I’m Sam and have been volunteering for Dean Farm Trust for a few weeks now and I’m loving every minute! I’ve been vegan for four years and in January, I decided I needed to be more active and volunteer to help more charities and vegan organisations. My first experience of Dean Farm Trust was visiting with my family for an open day back in June. I absolutely fell in love with the animals and people and resolved to help however I could. I volunteered at the next open day in July and that was the start of my volunteering journey.
Working with the animals at the sanctuary is such a rewarding experience. In the few short weeks I’ve been volunteering, I’ve gotten to know the personalities of so many of the animals and when some of the residents started to recognise me, it was an incredibly exciting and humbling feeling. I’ve already helped to do so many amazing things – it’s not just mucking out! Among the fun new challenges I’ve had while volunteering, have been socialising some very shy goats who were rescued from a petting zoo, herding sheep (and a rambunctious ram!) to have their annual inoculations and hosting visitors on open days. I’ve also helped groom ponies, move a huge hen house and carry little Dylan the sheep to a new paddock. No two days are the same!
My favourite residents (although I do genuinely love them all!) are June the duck, Tina the turkey, the 7 lovely goats and two adorable kune kune pigs, Roy and Geoff. It’s so lovely to be greeted by all of them every morning, with a loud quack from June, a soft cooing from Tina, a head rub from the goats and quiet snuffling from the pigs, asking for tummy scratches (I always oblige!)
I initially planned on volunteering one day a week, but after being signed off work due to anxiety and stress, I found myself doing a few extra days every week. The sanctuary is such a beautiful, calm and magical place, it’s done wonders to help my anxiety. Spending a day surrounded by wonderful people and the loveliest residents is such an amazing feeling. It’s hard work though – it’s not all goat cuddles and pony pats. You’ll need to be available to help the sanctuary staff with both the everyday care of the animals and special projects such as moving shelters and cleaning stables. But going to bed feeling physically exhausted, instead of mentally exhausted, feels incredible. I walked 7 miles in one short volunteering session a few weeks ago – it’s great exercise!
But if you’re not the physical type, there are plenty of ways you can help Dean Farm Trust. Do you have some skills we can utilise? Are you a great poster designer, or do you have a few hours to help at our Christmas open days? If you’d like to help out, please fill in the volunteer form and someone will get back to you.
I’d love you to join the Dean Farm Trust family. I know it sounds cheesy to say “family”, but it’s so much more than just a team. The staff and volunteers have welcomed me with open arms and I really feel appreciated and part of the gang – by those with two legs and those with four legs!