If you have thought about volunteering for RBST but think that you just don’t have that much time to spare – think again. Just a day, or even a few hours, here and there can make a difference. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a major commitment – and it isn’t just a one-way street.

Long-time RBST supporter and volunteer Lyn Arrowsmith is a member of the York Support Group. Lyn and her sons Thomas and Jack are regulars at shows up and down the country, representing RBST, showing in their own right and, in Lyn’s case, judging sheep classes. Although the family puts in many hours, Lyn is quick to point out that there is a role for everyone: “We know from our own experience how important volunteers are and we value the time anyone puts in. Even if you can only spare a day now and then, you will be made welcome and your help will really be appreciated – and you will definitely enjoy the experience and get plenty back from it.”

Lyn goes on to explain: “Going to shows, meeting people and talking about rare breeds has given us a fabulous lifestyle. We have made some amazing friends all around the country through RBST and it’s a great way to create new friendships. Children are made welcome and there is always something for them to do, if only for an hour or so before they go off to enjoy the rest of the show.”

One thing that may put you off volunteering is the thought that you need to be an expert on all things rare breeds. In fact, it’s the opposite and it’s fair to say that no experience is required to volunteer for RBST, as Juliette Jennings discovered when Lyn encouraged her to start volunteering.

Although she has always lived in the countryside, Juliette is the first to admit that she had absolutely no experience of livestock. She explains: “I didn’t even realise that farm animals were endangered. It all started when I got hooked on Lyn’s sausages at our village gymkhana! We got talking and Lyn explained about her rare breeds and involvement with RBST. I like helping out with things, so I started going along to shows – before I retired, I would just do the odd day on a stall and later progressed to spending three days helping at the Great Yorkshire Show.”

Juliette joined RBST and has acquired livestock of her own in the form of three Silkies. She reinforces the message that you really don’t need any specialist knowledge to take part, saying “You learn by being involved and being interested.”

The first step on the road to volunteering for RBST is via your nearest Support Group – you can find details of these on our Volunteer With Us page. If you find that there isn’t a group in your area, call or email hannahkn[email protected] who will be able to help you make the right connections.