We have known for some time now that our team of medics benefit a lot from their volunteering with BDMLR. They have shared with us examples of the social, emotional and mental health benefits they gain through participating in deeply meaningful activity where their actions really matter – not to mention the benefits associated with taking part in physically demanding outdoor activity.
In 2020, a pilot study carried out by Going Coastal Blue (CLICK HERE to read it) surveyed a selection of our volunteers who provide care within our BDMLR hospital facility in the South West. We aimed to understand the impact that volunteering with BDMLR was having on their wider lifestyle. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive and will not only inform further training, but also allow us to predict and enhance our social return on investment.
Inclusion is important to us. During 2021, we will build on the pilot study, through broadening our volunteer surveys to include the wider UK volunteer team. We will share our insights to encourage more people to get involved in the wonderful world of marine mammals and to improve the way we educate and engage our communities.
Why does this matter?
The rescue and critical care of seals and cetaceans is at the heart of what we do, but we also truly value our medics and could not achieve any of the things we achieve without their dedication. Our teams form strong bonds with one another, so we really care about the wider wellbeing of our teams.
We pride ourselves on the quality of medic skills training we offer. We also recognize that the work we do is emotive and challenging and we see within this, the opportunity to enable our teams to build confidence and resilience amongst other vital life-skills.
When attending cetacean and seal pup rescues, the animals we help are so much more than recipients of our care, sharing time with them offers the potential to develop life-qualities such as empathy and compassion.
We plan to offer our teams further personal development activity, distilling rescue and rehabilitation learning into practical life-strategies. This will enable our volunteers to adopt influential roles as ocean advocates within their communities in service of marine conservation and ultimately enable them to play their part in addressing climate change.
Investing in our volunteers, supporting our team through workshops and mentoring to build upon their emotional literacy and resilience, is one way we can give back to our amazing marine mammal medics. The long term effects of being an active marine mammal medic include; a happier and healthier home life, improved social networks, an improved mental attitude including confidence and enhanced employability.
Look out for our SEA Training program coming later this year in Cornwall!