Conference 7 may 2014 working together on our rights of way volunteering development
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Conference 7 May 2014, “Working Together on our Rights of Way” Volunteering Development. Ruth Rourke Principal Countryside Access Officer Monmouthshire County Council. Objectives. To develop a Community Engagement Strategy

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Conference 7 may 2014 working together on our rights of way volunteering development

Conference 7 May 2014, “Working Together on our Rights of Way”Volunteering Development

Ruth Rourke

Principal Countryside Access Officer

Monmouthshire County Council


  • To develop a Community Engagement Strategy

  • To make better use of volunteers to work on PROW and countryside access maintenance

  • To explore options for working with groups of volunteers

Baseline position
Baseline Position

  • Policy framework is very supportive

  • Work programme in place

  • Underpinned by supporting documentation and systems

  • Existing experience of working with individual volunteers (with volunteer co-ordinator)

Who are our volunteers
Who are our volunteers?

  • Groups – include, for example

    • NW Monmouthshire Ramblers/Lower Wye Ramblers

    • Raglan/MathernLocal Ways

    • BHS Bridleway Group

    • Monmouthshire Walking Festival Group

    • Abergavenny/Usk/TinternWalkers are Welcome

  • Individuals

    • 39 women and 77 men

    • 78 are retired, 36 are employed 1 is a student and 1 is unemployed

What do our volunteers do
What do our volunteers do?

  • Pathcaresurveys and recording

  • PROW maintenance (e.g. vegetation clearance)

  • Data entry onto CAMS (e.g. comms from public, work to be done, work done)

  • Litter picking

  • Compiling walk leaflets

  • Walking website

  • Development of walks and leading walks

  • Walking festival

Support provision
Support provision

Support for volunteers is provided in the form of:

  • Training

  • Supervision by MCC staff

  • Procuring appropriate materials

  • Liaising with landowners

  • Health and safety infrastructure

  • Practical support

Feedback what works well
Feedback – what works well

  • The people! Morag

  • Appropriate training

  • Set-up of groups was done well e.g. lots of support

  • Map given is good

  • Insurance

  • “Pathcare”

  • Setting up volunteer groups

  • When problems are reported on established pathways action is taken

  • Training provision excellent

  • Equipment supplied

  • Verbal support

  • Pathcare training course

  • First aid training

  • Mapping

  • Waymark stickers

  • Equipment

  • People in charge:

    • Volunteer Co-ordinator/focal point

    • Warden organising walk programme

  • Supplying tools/training/maps & information

  • Things that are reported get fixed (sometimes)

  • Allocated a single route to check three times a year

  • Appropriate training for pathcare, leading walk and first aid

  • Good communication – volunteer system with Morag

  • Equipment supplied

Feedback what needs improving
Feedback – what needs improving

  • Feedback from service to volunteers

  • Major problems dealt with slowly after reporting (x2)

  • No user/volunteer meetings with service

  • No involvement of young people

  • User meetings have ceased

  • Setting up of groups then ‘abandoned’

  • Communication with groups >

  • Follow up of action promised is poor

  • Direction of groups – who is leading? Driving? Pulling everything together

  • Diverting pathways/A’s to definitive map NOT happening

  • Furniture installed on pathways that go nowhere

  • Transparency – help us understand why problems exist

  • Walk leaders training? (good when run by Tim H)

  • Advertising & improving marketing volunteer opportunities particularly to youngsters

  • Ability to do maintenance or other tasks at weekend

  • More communication of what needs to be done

  • Website

  • Means of sharing good practice

  • Resources Available – limiting factor is organising work to do – Super vol?

  • Dealing with low priority issues

  • Feedback about things we’ve reported

  • Web based reporting of faults + needs feedback

  • Communication & links between lots of groups

  • Major work not undertaken by volunteers as not covered by insurance- not encouraged

  • Inviting more community service assistance (with supervision)

  • Minor public footpaths neglected/lost (still on ordnance survey map so visitors have negative experience)

Current volunteering activities groups
Current volunteering activities/groups

Options identified
Options identified


  • Continue as at present

  • Services share a co-ordinator

  • No co-ordinator


  • Each org takes on what it can within existing core funding, staffing and mission

  • MCC commissions one or more orgs

  • Full partnership approach, combining volunteer effort and including project-specific fund-raising


  • P/t co-ordinator, but working with groups only.

  • No co-ordinator