Volunteering with WRAS
Thank you for taking the time look at volunteering with WRAS. All volunteering roles are focused around our Casualty Care Centre which is based on the A22 at Whitesmith, which is between Hailsham, Uckfield and Lewes.
If you are interested in a work placement for your school and college then please visit our workplacement page by clicking here.
Below is all the information you need to know about volunteering, including where we are, how to get to us, and the various roles which are available.
Unlike domestic animal rescue, all the casualties we deal with are wild, so it is important to be hands off, as they will all be frightened of humans to varying degrees.
You will need a vehicle to get to our centre or alternatively you can catch the No. 54 bus which runs along the A22 from Uckfield to Eastbourne. Please be aware that buses do not run on a Sunday to our Centre. To find the latest and most up to date timetable please click on the link before and search for route 54 Eastbourne to Uckfield.
To help plan your journey by public transport please go to East Sussex County Council's journey planner site by clicking here.
Feed and clean shift volunteer
Most volunteers will begin by joining a feed and clean shift before expanding to other roles. Feed and clean shift volunteers are expected to commit to at least one shift a week, on the same day each week. Morning shifts start at 9am whilst evening shifts start at 5pm. Both shifts may last up to 3 or 4 hours depending on the number of casualties at the centre at the time. Within your role as a part of the feed and clean shift you will be expected to feed and clean the cages of casualties in care, handle wildlife casualties, including birds and mammals - training will be provided on how to do this correctly - and undertake basic cleaning including sweeping and mopping. You must be fairly mobile as some cages are fairly low to the floor so will require kneeling and bending down to reach.
You must be over 16 to volunteer with us due to the high risk environment and insurance reasons, however anyone aged between 13 and 16 can volunteer if they are accompanied by a responsible adult during the shift.
Please remember that unlike domestic animals, wildlife will be frightened of humans, and therefore we need to keep our contact with them down to a minimum, keep noise and disturbance low, and handle them as little as possible.
Commitment is very important as the casualties rely on the volunteers to feed and clean them twice a day, every day, failure to turn up could jeopardise this which would be an offense under the Animal Welfare Act.
Rescue volunteers are responsible for the collection of wildlife casualties from the wild and their transportation to the casualty care centre. In some cases the animals may already be contained, in other circumstances the rescuer is responsible for catching the casualty and restraining them ready for transportation, this can require a certain amount of rational thinking and problem solving.
New rescuers will be paired with a long standing rescuer to enable them to get some training in different aspects of rescue work including correct handling and transportation, safety equipment and to gain some general experience before undertaking rescue work alone. WRAS has rescue volunteers which work 10am-6pm or 6pm-10pm based at the casualty care centre. Volunteers will need to be able to commit to the same shift and day each week.
Rescuers need a full driving licence. Our ambulances are fully insured for anyone over 21. Those under 21 would be required to use their own vehicles if they wish to be on call, but they would be restricted to the less technical rescues unless they accompany an experienced rescuer who then drives a WRAS Ambulance.
We have four positions available. We have two permanent all year round shift and two seasonal Spring and Summer shifts.
The permanent shifts are: Daytime 10am till 6pm and 6pm till 10pm. Permanent shifts run all year round and are ongoing for as long as you want to volunteer.
The seasonal shifts are: Daytime 8am till 3/4/5pm and 3/4/5pm till 9pm. Seasonal shifts start mid April and go on till September depending on weather and temperature.
Orphan rearing team
Every year WRAS sees 100’s of baby birds come into care because they are sick and injured or have been abandoned. Some of which will need feeding from early in the morning to late in the evening, sometimes as often as every 15 minutes.
We require a team of committed and reliable volunteers to help us feed and clean the young birds that come into care, from tiny Robins and Blue tits to Swallows, Magpies, Jays as well as Tawney owls. No previous experience is needed.
During the height of the season feeds are a regular as every 15 minutes and some of the cages require some bending and lifting, this requires you to be fit and mobile.This is however extremely rewarding, being up close to these birds and seeing them grow and help them recover and eventually released.
Volunteers are expected to commit to one regular shift per week from roughly April-September (obviously holiday is allowed)
We are based on the A22 in Whitesmiths between Hailsham and Uckfield.
Working in WRAS's Reception.
WRAS takes on volunteers to working in its new Reception area which was created in 2015. The role primarily involves answering the phone, entering information onto WRAS's Database and dealing with members of the public who turn up WRAS's Casualty Centre.
We are looking for volunteers who will togethger form cover between 9am and 6pm seven days a week. We need people to be able to do one or more shifts a week ideally 9am (or as soon after as possible) till 1:45pm, 1:15pm till 6pm, or all day, stick to the same shift and hours each week and people who are able to make a long term commitment, are good at talking on the phone and can use a computer. Training will be given on how to use WRAS's Database and how to deal with the incoming calls.
We regularly have students from local schools and colleges complete their work placements with us. For more information please visit the 'Educational Resources' section of the website by clicking here.
What to consider before you Volunteer:
Under the Animal Welfare Act we have a legal responsibility to ensure that the casualties in our care are looked are properly. It is therefore important that volunteers are commited to their role and take the shared responsibility seriously.
It is advised that people have an up-to-date tetanus injection or booster. Although we don't force people to be vaccinated, it is the volunteers responsibility to ensure they are covered, stay covered or take responsibility for their health and any resulting problems as a result of not being covered by tetanus vaccination.
Please think about the following issues before you volunteer, if you wish to discuss any of these issue please feel free to raise your concerns below.
Do you have any health and mobility issues?
Are you about to go on holiday?
Are you about to stay in hospital, have an operation, or have a baby?
Are you scared of any animals or birds?
Are you about to start a job which will cause you problems committing to you shift?
Are you about to move home and will you be able to continue volunteering as a result?
Can you drive, catch the bus or get a lift into the centre?
Volunteer Taster Sessions:
After reading the information above, if you are unsure about the type of work, what is involved and whether this is right for you, then why not try one of our Volunteer Taster Sessions.
They take between 30 - 60 minutes. They involved visiting our Casualty Centre, going through a short presentation on the work of WRAS, cleaning out a cage and handling an animal under supervision and seeing where you would be working or based from. You will get the opportunity to ask questions and discuss whether this is right for you.
To book a session please contact Katey Edmundson on 07946 592 943. Please be aware that Katey is a volunteer so not always available to answer the phone and Volunteering Sessions need to be booked at convenient times to fit around other activities which take place at our Casualty Centre.
PLEASE only contact one person, please do not contact Katey and Ellie or you will duplicate their work effect. So to avoid wasted time please only contact one person and give them a couple of days to reply.
If you are interested in a Work Placement or Work Experience please click here for more information.
Volunteer Guidelines Document:
For more detailed information about our working practices, Health & Safety, Code of Conduct, Volunteer Agreement and our Equal Opportunities Policy please download our Volunteer Guidelines Document by clicking on the link below.
Apply to be a volunteer:
Please apply online via one of the forms below. Ellie will aim to reply to your application within 5 working days. If you have any questions our would like to speak to Ellie directly please call 01825 873003.
General volunteering (Shop, DIY, reception)
Feed and clean application: