Category Archives: Volunteering

River Guardian Training Workshop

River Guardian Workshop

On Tuesday 16th January BEACON held a workshop to train new River Guardians as part of our Call of Nature Project.

This free workshop was held in Marthall Hall in Ollerton, and a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and organisations attended.

The morning session was spent indoors explaining why BEACON has River Guardians, and how they play a very important role in our Call of Nature Project.  As part of the Call of Nature Project, River Guardians will be taking water samples from points along Marthall and Pedley Brooks.  This will enable us to see whether the engagement work we have done around septic tanks has been successful.  We hope that by giving local householders information, resources and support, septic tanks will be better used and maintained, thus resulting in an improvement in water quality.

BEACON River Guardians

The afternoon was a little chilly and wet, but still spent outside the classroom practicing taking water samples, and recording the results found.  This more informal part of the training was a great chance for volunteers to mingle, and ask questions about the practicalities of these surveys.


BEACON River Guardians

The day was a great success with 11 new Guardians trained, which brings the total number of River Guardians to 42.  That’s 42 people working across the Bollin Catchment, testing various tributaries and rivers for pollution.  The volunteers enjoyed gaining an ‘insight into exactly why we are doing the job and the long term benefits to the environment.’ and also ‘doing the practical exercise to understand exactly what we have to do and how long it takes. The breaks were also useful to speak to other participants and browse the maps and the other materials available.’


Thank you to all our River Guardians who give up their time to take water samples and send in their results.  This information is invaluable and wonderful to have.

BEACON River GuardiansBEACON River Guardians








For more information on the Call of Nature Project run in the North West please visit their website here.

This project is being delivered through the Mersey Rivers Trust, and is funded by the Environment Agency.

You can find more information on River Guardians here.

New Volunteer Opportunities

alsam Bashing Manchester University Singaporean Nurses VolunteersCan you write persuasively, informatively and inspire others to change their behaviors and attitudes?  Have you got what it takes to support community groups, teachers and young people to hold their own balsam bashes?  If so, below are the details of two exciting new volunteer opportunities with BEACON that might just be for you:

Volunteer Education Officer

  • This role is to create resources that will educate and raise awareness of invasive species throughout the Bollin catchment.
  • Your job will be to create two different information packs:
    • One about biosecurity for anglers, canoeists and other groups that use the water to recreate
    • One about the Asian Hornet (a new priority invasive no-native species) and the work of BEACON in general for local beekeepers, biological recorders and entomology groups
  • You will have to search for the contact details of the groups who will be sent this information, and mailshot these information packs out.
  • The majority of resources will be provided by DEFRA, but you will need to compose an introductory letter or flyer explaining why these materials are being distributed.
  • You must be very confident with using MS Word, MS Publisher and the internet

Balsam Bashing Champion

  • This role is to create a ‘Balsam Bashing Leaders Pack’ with all the information in it that groups will need to plan, organise and host their own balsam bashes.
  • Once interested groups have been identified and the packs created, you will then organise a ½ day workshop to train group leaders to ensure they are confident enough to hold their own balsam bash events.
  • Most resources will be provided by DEFRA and BEACON, but you will need to compose additional introductory information, event plans and posters to include in the packs.
  • You must be a very confident user of MS Word, MS Publisher and the internet.

Both roles will be supported by the BEACON Project Officer and will be largely office based at Styal, SK9 4HZ, although working from home is possible.  It is envisaged that these roles will require a commitment of ½ day to 1 day per week for 2 months.  Your travel expenses can be reimbursed.

For more information or to register an interest in either of these opportunities please contact Sally Potts, BEACON Project Officer, here.  Closing date for expressions of interest in these roles is Friday 27th February.