Skip to content Skip to footer

Volunteer Handbook

The Box Moor Trust Volunteers are an invaluable resource, and we want to make sure that your time with us goes as smoothly as possible.

The purpose of this handbook is to offer a one-stop reference point for questions you may have either as a new volunteer or as an experienced volunteer. Of course, we don’t expect you to rely solely on this handbook; please contact the Box Moor Trust office with any other questions or queries you may have.
Thank you once again for volunteering for the Box Moor Trust. We hope that you will find it a rewarding and enjoyable experience.


The history of the Box Moor Trust goes back over four centuries when the pastures of Hemel Hempstead were sold by the widow of the bankrupt Earl of Leicester in 1574. In 1594, the land was officially conveyed to 67 named inhabitants (Feoffes), to be held in trust for the people of the town and the neighbouring hamlet of Bovingdon, and thus the Box Moor Trust was formed.

The Trust now owns just under 500 acres of land and manages this to accommodate the changing needs of its beneficiaries while also recognising the importance of some of the habitats that are found on the Estate. The Trust land encompasses chalk grassland, semi-ancient woodland, the River Bulbourne and associated streams and wetland habitats, and several recreational areas which play host to children’s play areas, cricket clubs and a rugby club. The Trust also has its own flock of Norfolk Horn sheep and herd of Belted Galloway cattle, which graze the land as living lawnmowers and act as ambassadors for farming.

The Box Moor Trust is a registered charity, managed by 12 Trustees who are elected by the local people. The Trustees are responsible for the Trust and its activities and provide direction. They meet regularly to discuss Trust business and record decisions on the present and future of the Trust. The Trust employs a team of staff who work delivering the objectives of the Trust. This includes the Estates Team, who are responsible for maintenance across the estate, as well as wildlife surveys and providing engagement opportunities for local people, and the Administration Team who keep the Trust running by looking after the Trust finances, promoting the Trust, running events and keeping the Trust compliant with Health and Safety and other legislation. More information on the Trustees and Staff members can be found on our website.

Volunteers are involved in almost all aspects of the Trust’s work, from helping with running events and activities, documenting changes across the years in photography or wildlife surveys and carrying out practical conservation work on the many varied habitats the Trust includes. Volunteer roles are listed below with a brief description of what they encompass. A more detailed profile for each of these roles is available on our website.

Volunteer Roles:

• Volunteer Co-Ordinator – Leading volunteer work parties.
• Estate Volunteer – Assisting with habitat management work or estates maintenance work through volunteer work parties or working with our Rangers.
• Community Engagement Volunteer – assisting with activities ran for local people to engage with the Estate such as bat walks, pond dipping sessions, school visits, Box Moor Rangers etc.
• Duke of Edinburgh Volunteer – Students completing their volunteer hours as part of their DoE by carrying out activities such as litter picking or weekend conservation work parties.
• Lead Wildlife Survey Volunteer – Leading specific wildlife surveys on Trust land as part of our monitoring programme.
• Wildlife Survey Volunteer – Assisting with carrying out wildlife surveys on Trust land on a variety of species such as bats, water voles, flora, and butterflies.
• Weekend Conservation Volunteer – Assisting with habitat management work such as clearing holly in woodland or clearing invasive species along riverbanks during weekend work parties.
• Trustees and Co-Opted Trustees – Elected or nominated positions that provide strategic direction to the Trust.
• Livestock Volunteers – Assisting with the management of livestock including completing welfare checks.

The benefits of being a volunteer include:

• Knowing you are contributing to the management of the Trust Estate for the enjoyment of the local people, whatever your volunteer role.
• Sharing your knowledge, skills and experience.
• Meeting people with similar interests.
• Developing new skills and experience that enhance employment prospects.
• Helping to improve your physical and mental health and wellbeing.
• Making a positive impact on awareness of wildlife in your community.

The benefits to the Trust include:

• Helping to increase the delivery of wildlife and habitat conservation on the ground.
• Increasing the public’s understanding of wildlife and wild places.
• Making more people aware of the Trust’s work.
• Bringing in additional knowledge, skills and ideas.
• Strengthening our engagement with the local community.
• Helping to improve the infrastructure of the estate for the enjoyment of others.

The Trust encourages volunteers of all ages and abilities as long as they are able to take part safely. Our volunteers come from all backgrounds, bringing a variety of skills and experience and provide all the information and training needed to take on any of the roles you may wish to volunteer for. Some roles do require specific skills or experience and we closely assess the suitability of these for any volunteer. You will always be fully briefed about your role and the tasks you will be involved in.

For some volunteer roles, children may be able to be involved, although the minimum age for volunteering is currently 14. Children aged 14 to 17 must be supervised by a parent or guardian, who must also be registered as a volunteer.

We understand that, for a range of reasons, some volunteers need extra support. We aim to reduce the barriers to volunteering, while ensuring the health and safety of all our staff, volunteers, and members of the public. If you have extra support needs, we ask that these are discussed with a member of staff beforehand, and an individual volunteer risk assessment may be completed to assess whether you can volunteer safely and any accommodations that are mutually agreed.

Some people volunteer regularly every week and have a specific role they assist with, whereas others just help whenever they can. We don’t require any of our volunteers to commit a minimum number of hours and understand that flexibility is important. When you enquire about volunteering, you will be asked to indicate the time you are available during the week, as well as the type of activity you are interested in. We aim to provide volunteering opportunities which suit even the busiest schedules, and some roles have flexible working hours, while others are set shifts.

Volunteer roles are advertised both on our website and through the Volunteering Centre in Hemel Town Centre. Prospective volunteers should, in the first instance, read through the role profiles to gauge if volunteering at the Trust is for them, or contact the office for further information on volunteering. The Trust manages volunteers using an online portal called Volunteer Impact, but any prospective volunteers without access to the internet can contact the Trust and will be provided information through other means.

An online registration form will need to be completed, which will ask for either one reference, for youth volunteers, or two references for all other roles. References should be two people who know the prospective volunteer either personally or professionally and can comment on their work ethic and physical fitness. They will be sent a volunteer reference form, which should be completed and returned to the Trust confidentially. Upon receipt of acceptable references, volunteers will be able to start volunteering. They will be invited to attend a monthly volunteer meet and greet session, which will give them the opportunity to meet a member of the team and learn more about the different types of work that volunteers have completed. Attending a meet and greet is not compulsory to start volunteering and they may attend their first task without this, though they should make the supervisor of that task aware they have not volunteered before.

We aim to ensure all new volunteers receive an appropriate welcome and induction – either at their first volunteer session or at a Volunteer Meet and Greet. New volunteers will be provided with in-depth information on how volunteer sessions run, depending on what they are assisting with, as well as shown facilities and how to use any equipment you may be required to use. A key person to help you with your volunteering, either a member of staff or an experienced volunteer, will be introduced to you during your first session.
New volunteers are advised to wear old clothes appropriate for the weather that they don’t mind getting dirty, and strong shoes or boots. It is also recommended that tetanus cover is up to date and volunteers make someone they know aware that they are volunteering with us, preferably any emergency contacts provided upon registration.

Training is provided dependent on the requirement of the volunteer roles and the capability and availability of specific volunteers. Some training may require a minimum commitment of hours or a contribution by volunteers towards PPE or the like. Training courses are a financial commitment, and the Trust must ensure it gets value for money from investing time and money into individuals who express an interest in undertaking training. However, the Trust will take into account the benefit to the volunteer when providing training and will consider running training on areas requested by volunteers if it will assist them in carrying out their role at the Trust.

Examples of training opportunities includes; Manual Handling, First Aid, Risk Assessing, Tool Maintenance, Carrying out Pond Dipping, Safe use of Brushcutter, Safe Use and Handling of Pesticides, Tractor Driving.

All tools and equipment required to carry out your role will be provided, as well as training on how to use and maintain said equipment. Please ensure you use any equipment provided for its primary purpose and ask for additional equipment to use if you require it to complete your task. If volunteers feel that a piece of equipment provided is not fit for purpose or is broken, then they should make the supervisor of their task aware of it in the first instance and take it out of use. Tools specifically allocated to volunteer use are stored at Gadespring Cressbeds and may only be accessed outside of work parties with prior permission from the Trust. Valuable equipment or equipment requiring specific training will be provided by a member of staff and maintenance will be overseen by a member of staff.

A uniform is offered to all volunteers after they have volunteered for a few sessions, which consists of one of each of the following items: polo shirt, sweatshirt, jacket and one of either Safety Work Boots OR Safety Wellies. Additional uniform will be offered on a discretionary basis. Volunteers are not required to wear the uniform when working on behalf of the Trust, however volunteers may ONLY wear the uniform provided when working on behalf of the Trust so as not to misrepresent the Trust or bring additional wear and tear to items of clothing. Any uniform provided should be returned to the Trust either upon request or when a volunteer resigns from their role. Uniform items will be replaced upon reasonable request.

To help recognise the invaluable contribution volunteers make to the Trust, it is very helpful to be able to record the amount of time they give. It is of particular use in applications for funding as it helps to evidence the level of support we receive. Volunteer Impact can be used to log any time you complete on behalf of the Trust. Set work hours, such as specific events or work parties, are logged automatically. If they complete tasks within their own time, such as litter picking or butterfly surveys, they should take note of the time they spend doing these, and log these online using Volunteer Impact. Further assistance can be provided on how to do this. If they prefer not to use Volunteer Impact, then volunteer hours can be emailed in and recorded manually by a member of staff.

Volunteers are expected to cover their own personal costs, however in certain circumstance and on prior approval the Trust will reimburse costs that are directly associated with or incurred by an activity.

The Trust invites Volunteers to attend at least two social events a year, which include a Summer BBQ and Christmas Party. These are held in recognition of the efforts that volunteers put in and provide an opportunity to socialise outside of normal volunteer work. Invitations to these are sent out a few weeks before the event takes place, and all volunteers are invited to attend.

Volunteers are also invited to two biannual planning meetings, which provide an opportunity for volunteers to meet Trustees as well as get an overview from staff of past and future projects and work across the estate. Volunteers are also invited to ask any questions they might have and bring up any concerns, ideas, or issues during this time. A suggestions box is also available at Gadespring Cressbeds where volunteers may anonymously or otherwise write any feedback for review. The Trust holds an Annual Public Meeting usually in April which volunteers are also welcome to attend.

The Box Moor Trust recognises that from time-to-time issues and problems may arise and we aim to identify and address these problems at the earliest stage. Volunteers who have a concern or problem related to the Trust or their Volunteering activities or involvement should in the first instance discuss it with the Environmental Awareness and Community Senior Ranger or another paid member of staff. The Trust member of staff will then assess the situation and determine an appropriate response and potential actions. As a result of reported issues, The Trust may ask volunteers to stop volunteering or resign from a specific role if they feel that the volunteer is not able to fulfil that role in line with the Trust’s policies and procedures.

We understand that volunteers may wish to stop volunteering at any time for a variety of reasons. We ask that if they decide to leave, they discuss this with a member of staff. This gives us the opportunity to offer an alternative role and helps us to learn and develop our volunteering programme. You will be archived as a volunteer, on Volunteer Impact, and after a year from the date of your resignation, your profile will be deleted from the system. Any uniform or PPE provided to you during your time volunteering should be returned upon resignation.

The Box Moor Trust has a responsibility to all its volunteers and staff to ensure their wellbeing when working with us. However, it is essential that you are aware of your own safety and that of those around you at all times. The Trust engages NFU Mutual to provide a Health and Safety Consult to risk assess all the activities completed on behalf of the Trust. Generic Risk Assessments and Safe Working Procedures are available for all aspects of the Trust’s activities, though a specific risk assessment will be relayed to volunteers at the beginning of every task and volunteers must sign the risk assessment to show they have been provided the information and will abide by the safety measures required of the task.

Volunteers are expected to carry out only those tasks that they feel capable of carrying out in line with their fitness and ability without causing any harm or injury to themselves or others, or damage to property. The volunteer must discuss any issues which may affect their ability to carry out their role with the Trust. The Trust’s Employer’s Liability Insurance provides insurance against legal liability for injury sustained by volunteers as a direct result of their involvement with Trust activities. We insist that volunteers register with us to ensure that they are covered by our Employer’s Liability Insurance when carrying out volunteer duties on our behalf. Volunteers who are suitably qualified and insured to drive vehicles on behalf of the Trust have a responsibility to inform the Trust of any endorsements or changing medical circumstance which may affect the conditions of the Trust’s Insurance policy.

It is up to you to inform us of relevant health information that could affect your volunteering and keep us up to date with any changes. Volunteers should seek the advice of a medical professional prior to undertaking volunteering if they have any health concerns or questions. If a volunteer is unwell, they may be asked to provide a note from their doctor before they volunteer for the Trust. If a volunteer fails to provide sufficient evidence proving they are fit to volunteer, they may be asked to cease volunteering with the Trust. If an individual’s health changes in a way which could affect their volunteering, they must let the Trust know. Volunteers may be asked to undergo an individual volunteer risk assessment if they have any health conditions that could affect their volunteering, and their role may be adapted to ensure that they remain safe while volunteering for us.

Additional policies are in place which affect volunteers. These are available to view both on our website and on Volunteer Impact.

These include:

Volunteer Policy
• Safeguarding Policy
• Lone Working Policy
• Health and Safety Policy
• Data Protection Policy
• Cyber Policy
• Equality and Diversity Policy
• Unacceptable Public Behaviour Policy
Privacy Notice
• IT Policy
• Complaints Procedure

While working with The Trust volunteers should, at all times, maintain professional and responsible standards of conduct. In particular you should:

1. Observe all Trust policies, procedures and regulations which are included in the Volunteer Handbook or notified to you from time to time by means of e-mail or otherwise.
2. Take reasonable care in respect of the health and safety of colleagues and third parties.
3. Take reasonable care of Trust tools, property, and general assets.
4. Comply with all reasonable instructions given by manager and Trust staff.
5. Act at all times in good faith and in the best interests of other volunteers, Trust staff and stakeholders.