Support for community groups and organisations

Wood Meadow Trust – volunteering support in the Selby District

group sat outside at a table making bee hotels
Two women in a gardening polytunnel looking at plants
Lady walking in a meadow

Passionate about educating adults and children about nature, Community First Yorkshire has helped this small local organisation to build a huge team of volunteers.

What was the challenge?

The Wood Meadow Trust plants a unique combination of trees and flower meadows. With only two paid staff members on the project, the Trust relies heavily on its volunteers. In 2018, 81 volunteers contributed 1,178 hours. Recruiting and retaining volunteers was crucial to the Trust’s success but the organisation had never asked its volunteers officially about what it was like helping on the project.

Emma Daniels, Project Coordinator, explains: “We already had a volunteer programme, but we’d never asked our volunteers for feedback to see if it was okay and what we could improve on. We wanted suggestions for how we could increase the take up of volunteering opportunities.”

With volunteers critical to the project’s success, Emma contacted Community First Yorkshire for help.

How did Community First Yorkshire help?

Lizzie, from Community First Yorkshire, visited the site to meet the group’s organisers and walked through the meadow to get a feel for the organisation and its environment.  She talked through the volunteering programme with Emma and reviewed all of the policies the Wood Meadow Trust had created.

Emma explained, “Lizzie came up with a list of advice and suggestions she thought might be useful for us. We have implemented every single one of them!”

With Community First Yorkshire’s support, the Wood Meadow Trust rewrote its volunteer policy and now describes it as ‘much better’.

Lizzie also advised on other changes. “We’ve introduced a new system to encourage more visitors to complete our evaluation form, which has really helped us gain a better idea of what they want. The feedback has really helped us when making funding applications as funders always want to see evidence of feedback,” Emma explains.
The trust also produced a new flyer about volunteering and the team now go out and give talks to local groups to recruit volunteers.

“When volunteers play such a vital role in your organisation, it’s important to get it right. The Wood Meadow Trust really embraced our suggestions and it’s a pleasure to see the amazing volunteer programme they now have.”
Lizzie, from Community First Yorkshire

About the organisation.

The Wood Meadow Trust (formerly Hagges Wood) is a registered charity set up in 2013 to create wood meadows covering about 25 acres. There are two paid staff members on the project. The Esmee Fairburn Trust funds one post, for 15 hours per week and the second post of Volunteer  Coordinator has one day a week funded through North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities. The charity has a large bank of volunteers.

What does the future look like?

Emma concludes, “Community First Yorkshire provided really useful information and has helped us to understand how to recruit more volunteers and the need to foster relationships with them. That’s something we hadn’t done before. We have a huge group of volunteers now. The advice
and help from Community First Yorkshire have helped us get here.”
With Community First Yorkshire’s support, there are clear policies and a streamlined and effective system for a small staff team who have limited hours to spend on the project.

Do you need help with…
  • Securing income for your organisation or project?
  • Turning your ideas of becoming a new community organisation into a reality?
  • Benefitting from greater security as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)?
  • Thinking about reviewing your organisation and planning ahead?
  • Understanding trustee’s legal roles and responsibilities?
  • Benefitting from a financial health check?

Our advisers can help. Call us today 01904 704177 or

How we can help you.

As a registered charity, we understand your needs. Our local advisers work across North Yorkshire and will come to you to ensure you get access to the best quality advice and guidance including funding advice, helping you set up as a community organisation, governance and trustees, finance support, marketing advice, and exploring ways to further develop your organisation.
If you know a community group, charity or social enterprise that needs some support to be even more successful, contact one of our friendly advisors on 01904 704177 or