Weed Warrior volunteer, Margaret Williams, tells us why she wants to make a difference

We launched a new volunteer scheme to help reduce weeds across the city last month.

The ‘Weed Warrior’ launch event was held at Ladies Mile on 17 March.  

The aim of the Weed Warrior scheme is to make streets across Brighton & Hove more attractive for both visitors and residents.

Over 35 residents have now signed up to be part of the scheme.

The scheme is an extension of activities and tasks that our Cityclean team are already doing to remove weeds from across the city.

Volunteering in Brighton & Hove

We recently caught up with long-time volunteer Margaret Williams to hear what she thought about volunteering in the city.

Margaret moved to Brighton & Hove in 2016 with her husband, Ken, to be close to her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, who also live in the city.

Margaret is a member of the Tidy Up Team (TUT), volunteers as a Weed Warrior, has shifts as a volunteer shepherd and works with the Citypark Rangers on conservation projects across the city.  

We asked what inspired her to get involved with our volunteer schemes and she said, “I was very worried about winter in a new city without friends nearby or enough to fill my time so I looked in to walking groups, choirs and U3A but never thought of volunteering as a way of getting to know people.

Finding purpose in a new city

“Soon after joining the council’s Healthwalk scheme, I heard about volunteering as a lookerer for the council. This is volunteer shepherding. I was excited and knew I would love to be involved, even though I have never been involved with farm animals before.

“After some group training and a first shift with an experienced lookerer, I had a volunteer job I love. I bump into other lookerers all over Brighton & Hove, even at choir.

Keeping our streets clean, tidy and glyphosate free

“When I was on a lookerer shift, I saw lots of litter in the sheep paddocks and knew I needed to get involved with the Tidy Up Team.

“Now I join other Tidy Up Team members on organised litter picks and tidy the streets where I live or other littered areas I’ve identified when I’m out and about.

“Volunteering with Tidy Up Team at Pride is amazing. Everybody around you is having a good time and I’m part of one of our city’s biggest events.”

We asked Margaret about the increase in weeds on paved areas following the ban of glyphosate in 2019. She said, “Warriors can adopt and care for their local area and it’s a way for the whole city to reduce the problem.

“The Weed Warrior launch event was enjoyable. I got to see other volunteers I knew and got to meet new people I hadn’t met before. I guess everybody was there for the same reason, we love the city and want to make a difference.”

Feeling part of the community

We asked Margaret to tell us about some of the benefits of volunteering and she said, “Volunteering is such a positive experience and you can see the difference it makes.

“There is no ageism, you are accepted for who you are, it has allowed me to use skills I already had and develop new skills too.

“The council officers that lead the volunteer groups are knowledgeable, friendly and supportive, so their groups are the same. They always make sure there is a task suitable for everyone and their abilities.

“Most tasks are in the open air and involve exercise so volunteering is good for mind and body.

“Without volunteering, I think I would be very lonely and now I have a widening friendship group and feel part of the Brighton and Hove community.”

Find out more about different volunteer opportunities on our website.

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