Return to pre-Covid levels of volunteering in Cardiff’s Parks a ‘big help’


People across the UK are being asked to join ‘The Big Help Out' this week to mark His Majesty The King's Coronation, but in Cardiff's parks volunteers have been a ‘big help' all year - with the number of hours they spend working in the city's green spaces returning to pre-Covid levels for the first time.

Grangemoor Park, a former landfill site in Grangetown offering panoramic views of the city, is one of many parks to have benefitted from the hard work of volunteers recently. Jon Wallis, a regular conservation volunteer with Cardiff Council was one of five volunteers working alongside council staff to manage the habitat.

"Today we're taking down fencing that was put in to protect saplings," Jon explained during a short break, "the saplings have all grown so the fencing isn't needed anymore, the posts start to fall down after a while, and it looks a bit unsightly so we're taking that out. But we also coppice willow, resurface paths, whatever needs doing, and it helps the Rangers achieve more than they otherwise could.

"I enjoy it a lot, I would, and did during Covid, feel quite lost without it. You see the results of what you do, immediately you take the fence out and it looks more natural, or you plant something and you see it come up next year."

"For me it's the sense of doing something positive, however small for the environment, St David, the patron saint said ‘do ye the small the things' and if enough people do them they add up. We can't all save the world on our own, but we can do a little bit towards it."

Figures for 2022/23 show that volunteers carried out 19,385 hours of volunteering in the capital's green spaces - that's 274 hours more than were volunteered during 2019/20, prior to the pandemic.

According to Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Parks, Cllr Jennifer Burke, the commitment of the city's parks volunteers hasn't gone unnoticed.

"Having our volunteers back is fantastic news for Cardiff's parks and green spaces," Cllr Burke, said. "Whether it's working in the greenhouses at Bute Park, helping out with tree planting, getting stuck into habitat management and conservation work, or devoting their time to one of the many Friends Groups across the city, every volunteering hour really counts, and helps our own hardworking teams achieve far more than they could alone.

"With recent reports that levels of volunteering are declining across the UK, it's credit to our local community here in Cardiff that even before ‘The Big Help Out' residents were bucking the trend and lending a vital hand. Our green spaces really missed all their hard work and enthusiasm during the pandemic, so it's great to have them back."

Find out how you can get involved with volunteering in Cardiff's parks here: