Ramblers’ volunteers already do so much to defend the path network and ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of walking. Now we want to make our local voice even stronger by recruiting a network of local organisers to support the fantastic work that areas do by and help deliver Ramblers' campaigns locally.
We will be piloting this programme in England initially, and we welcome applications for local organisers from across the country. We hope to roll-out more widely across England as well as in Wales and Scotland in the future.
We're targeting recruitment in East Anglia, London, Greater Manchester and West of England, where there are already local campaigns happening and where mayoral elections will be taking place this May.
But if you’re running a campaign in your area already, or if there’s a problem or issue that you’re dealing with locally that you think a volunteer local organiser could help tackle, please get in touch.
Recruitment will start in March. We hope to have our first volunteers in place by May.
Local organisers will work with other Ramblers volunteers to help protect the local walking environment by:
- Building relationships with local decision makers - by holding events and meetings with, for example, MPs, local authorities, businesses, private individuals and organisations etc - to make the case for Ramblers’ campaigns.
- Engaging with other walkers to build support for campaigns, to raise their awareness of and enthusiasm and support for a country designed for walking, for example through gaining media coverage, hosting stalls or fundraising.
- Keeping an eye on what’s happening locally to inform Ramblers campaigns, for example by speaking to Ramblers groups and walkers and performing desk research to find out about key local authority meetings etc.
- Promoting Ramblers' campaigns locally and identifying and recruiting local people who are interested in becoming more involved with Ramblers’ campaigns at a less intensive pace e.g. attending a meeting or signing petitions but are not able to commit time to an in-depth role.
This will partly depend on what is happening in the local area. We expect that volunteers will have their own interests and issues that they want to champion, and we hope to be able to support them where we can. It is also our ambition that volunteers will help deliver Ramblers national and regional campaigns, such as Pathwatch, at their local level.
We know many groups and areas are already actively campaigning locally and getting great results. This new role isn’t intended to supersede or detract from that work. In fact, we hope that where existing campaigns are happening, there might be ideal candidates for this role, or perhaps by recruiting a new volunteer we can add capacity to your campaigns. Introducing this role is about helping us to extend our reach and offer more support to volunteers and members locally. We also hope that, through this role, we will be able to have more local impact on our national campaigns, such as Pathwatch.
We think this is a great opportunity to get new people involved with Ramblers campaigns. We are also mindful that Ramblers areas do not correspond with governance regions and local authority boundaries, and that was a big consideration for where this role will sit. We are also conscious that we didn’t want to ask areas, who are already struggling to recruit volunteers in some places, to have yet another role to fill and manage. However, we do hope that these volunteers will work closely with area volunteers in their patch, and will support areas to deliver campaigns as necessary.
Moreover, local organisers will undergo an application process and informal interview to ensure their suitability for the role and that they share the Ramblers values. If you don’t feel that the volunteer is working cooperatively with your area or group please get in touch with Laura Burley at Ramblers GB to discuss what you think could change. In the unlikely case that after working with staff the disagreement is still not resolved, then the stages of the complaints and disputes policy will be followed.
Currently, there isn’t an elected volunteer campaigner position at area/group level. So this role won’t be directly replacing any of the work that elected volunteers already do. However, a lot of areas/groups already do fantastic work lobbying their MPs, local councillors and other decision-makers and championing the Ramblers locally. We hope that volunteer local organisers will be able to help further to develop these relationships and support their local groups/area with specific campaign activity.
This definitely shouldn’t create any more work. We hope that you will welcome the volunteer campaigner and that your area/group will be able to share local knowledge with them.
Volunteer local organisers will be recruited and supported by Laura Burley, Campaigns Officer, from the Ramblers GB office. They will be given training, which will be complemented by peer support from other volunteer campaigners.
We wish to encourage new people to get involved with our campaigning. We already have many volunteers and supporters who are not members, including those doing path maintenance, leading walks for our Walking for Health Programme and taking part in ad hoc campaign actions. We hope that those who become a local organiser will want to become members at some point.
Lots of areas and groups already hold strong relationships with local authorities. Volunteer local organisers will be able further to develop these relationships and to build them where they are not already in place. We aim for them to be able to develop relationships with parts of local authorities with which we have not traditionally engaged, such as public health functions.
Throughout the pilot programme, there will be lots of thought given to how the pilot is working and what impact it is having on the work of the Ramblers, at GB level and on different areas and groups. We will welcome your feedback on the programme. This feedback and evidence will be used to inform a further roll-out of the programme, we hope to more regions of England and Wales.
If you can think of anyone who would be right for this role, or if you have any questions, or ideas for how to make this a success in your area, please get in touch with Laura Burley, Campaigns Officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7339 8584.
In Wales, please get in touch with Rebecca Brough, Policy and Advocacy Manager on email@example.com.