Facilitated by East Coast Greenprint Forum
A quick Google search for voluntourism brings up more than 180,000 results and there are opportunities across the globe for all ages. It is a growing industry much explored by VolunTourism.org but does it hold a potential opportunity for the East Coast?
What assets are unique to us which we can use to draw in volunteers from across the UK and beyond? What do we need to consider?
This workshop offered the chance to find out more as well as explore opportunities for East Suffolk.
Workshop presentation: The Green and the Blue Voluntourism Opportunity (PDF 1.17MB)
There is a national gap at the moment in attracting international and national tourists to the UK for volunteering opportunities. The ESP could be at the cutting edge of this if it moves quickly.
Volunteers want to be a part of something that is professionally run, well resourced and has community support/buy in. They want to see tangible, net positive outcomes.
The workshop identified that East Suffolk's USPs were: the Easterly Point of the UK; an international and nationally important landscape and wildlife; a rich cultural heritage -
Britton/Constable/Suffolk Punch Trust; its proximity to London, South England and Continent; a rich history - Roman, WWII, Cold War, Family Trees, Radar, Orford Ness, museums; Sport and leisure -largely flat, have some good wild swimming opportunities; Food and drink; Nuclear plant, Orbis Energy, Port of Felixstowe, agricultural sector; churches.
Potential partners that were identified include the Destination Management Organisation,
UEA, UCS, Royal Hospital School, RSPB, National Trust, CAS and other community groups and representatives.
To develop this further a dedicated resource is needed to make the connections, highlight the opportunities and risks, develop funding bids and draw up a robust project plan. This person/organisation will need to lead the project, be provided with a clear project outcomes/job description.
Actions from the workshop
A business plan to be approved by the Greenprint Steering Group, ESP Board and other relevant working groups.
A database of connections - both in terms of volunteering opportunities but also in terms of the organisations interested in providing offers to those coming into volunteer and those wanting to volunteer.
A package to pitch to the private sector which will enable agencies to ensure the ultimate commercial package has environmental and social benefits.
Round table discussion events to develop local understanding about the possibilities and challenges.