My name is Nichaela Boxall and I am one of the lucky winners of Vodafone’s World of Difference funding; winning the chance to donate myself to Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) for four months to develop and run their education and activity room and get paid to do it!
I first volunteered for CBMWC for ten weeks back in 2011. After completing a degree in Zoology with Conservation from Bangor University in 2008 and taking a job in retail to save for a Masters it soon became apparent that going back to university wasn’t right for me at that time and I started to look for volunteering opportunities to try and gain experience and make me more employable. I stumbled across CBMWC in the Green Volunteers book, applied and fortunately I was successful. I had an amazing summer looking for bottlenose dolphins and the other marine life found in the Cardigan Bay SAC both from the harbour wall in New Quay and at sea.
I enjoyed my time so much that I came back in 2012 for the majority of the season and took on more responsibility such as working on the photo-ID catalogue and helping with volunteer training. It was towards the end of the year that I found out about Vodafone’s World of Difference programme where you can donate yourself to a charity and get paid for it and I applied. Thankfully my application was successful so here I am back in New Quay and back at CBMWC.
The aim of my placement is develop and promote the educational activities offered at CBMWC. The education and activity room was opened last year following refurbishment made possible with funding from the National Lottery and Natural Resources Wales (formerly Countryside Council for Wales) but due to limited numbers of volunteers was only able to open when there were enough people on hand. With my placement dedicated to education we are now able to open every weekend and throughout the school holidays to educate visiting children about the amazing wildlife found in and around Cardigan Bay.
If you would like to keep up to date with the development of the education and activity room throughout my placement you can read my World of Difference blog or follow CBMWC on Facebook or Twitter @CBMWC.