Three Cheers for Zooper Volunteer, Ivy!
International Volunteers Day is held on 5th December annually, recognising the valuable contribution volunteers make within their communities.
For Polegate resident, Ivy Scarborough, volunteering is a huge part of everyday life. Since March she has been helping out at her local zoo, Drusillas Park, returning twice a week to assist the education department.
Ivy commented: “After retiring I wanted to find a new challenge. I’d been talking to my husband about what I could do with my extra time and he suggested listing all of the things I enjoy.”
“I always wanted to work with animals so when I saw an advert on Facebook asking for volunteers it seemed perfect. I rang in and the rest is history. I absolutely love it and I’m always going home to my husband with different stories.”
“As part of my role I help look after a variety of animals cared for by the education team and get them ready to meet children who visit the Park. After working in a school for 13 years it is great to see the children’s faces; I can’t tell you what it is like.”
“Along with feeding and cleaning the animals, I also get to exercise Gretel the hairy armadillo and play with Sergei and Oleg the meerkats. There is nothing in the world that compares to the way they look at you; I feel really privileged to know that I am contributing to their welfare.”
Ivy is certainly no stranger to volunteer work; she was a local councillor for over a decade and voted Mayor of Polegate for three years. During this time she opened the new bypass and worked closely with the Police and other councils to showcase the town. However, she has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
“If someone said a year ago that this is what I would be doing, I wouldn’t have believed them! I have never worked with an organisation that has made me feel more welcome. Everyone has looked after me so well – I really feel like part of the team. I look forward each week to my time at the zoo.”
Volunteer Coordinator, Carla Dray added: “Ivy is an absolute star and a pleasure to have on the team. She works extremely hard looking after the animals and I know the zoo keepers really appreciate everything that she does.”
“Not only does Ivy help out behind the scenes but she also assists in our walkthrough enclosures and occasionally in our busy education sessions. Our young meerkats, Sergei and Oleg and armadillo Gretel, adore her. They arrived at Drusillas back in the spring and thanks to Ivy’s dedication, they have developed into confident animals and we regularly show them to school groups. I think they would actually follow her anywhere!”
To find out more about Drusillas Park and the Volunteer Scheme visit https://www.drusillas.co.uk/volunteering-at-drusillas-park