It’s 25 years since Bristol Zoo Gardens launched its volunteers’ scheme.
To begin with there were just 15 people, today there are more than 240 dedicated volunteers who help at the Zoo in many different ways.
Some help look after animals, others garden, some help maintenance teams or face paint, others support the Ranger team in the walkthrough exhibits,. They even help to build and run the Christmas grotto.
The Zoo’s volunteers come from all walks of life and from all over the Bristol area and beyond. Some are still in their teens and others are well into their 80s. But they are united by one thing – a passion for Bristol Zoo.
Some have been giving their time to Bristol Zoo since the volunteering scheme began in 1992.
More than 40 volunteers have gone on to take-up paid jobs with the Zoo. They include Ann Lovell, manager of volunteer services at the Zoo who began volunteering 20 years ago.
She said the Zoo’s volunteers’ scheme was widely admired by other charities and organisations across the country. People from ZSL London Zoo and more locally Tyntesfield have visited Clifton to learn more about the scheme.
“The scheme we have here is seen as the best,” said Ann. “We are extremely proud of the volunteering team we have built up over the years. We do ask a lot from people but they are passionate about the Zoo.”
She added: “They are a huge help to the running of the Zoo and without their commitment and support Bristol Zoo would not be what it is today. Every day they help ensure hundreds of visitors have an enjoyable and memorable visit, and we are very grateful to them for that.”
Dr Bryan Carroll, chief executive of Bristol Zoo, said: “The enthusiasm, loyalty and commitment of our volunteers is remarkable. They are a diverse group of people but they have one thing in common – they all love Bristol Zoo. I would personally like to thank them for the generous time they give to us and for their continued commitment to Bristol Zoo.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at Bristol Zoo Gardens please visit www.bristolzoo.org.uk/zoo-information/volunteering. Alternatively, phone volunteer services on 0117 974 7363 or email firstname.lastname@example.org