South East Rivers Trust

Volunteer and Engagement Officer – Maternity cover

SERT’s ambition is to reach as many people as possible in the south east, to teach and show them the importance of rivers in the environment, and how everyone can play a part in restoring them


We are looking for an experienced, confident, enthusiastic and engaging person to join our Working with Communities Team, to develop and deliver volunteering and community outreach activities that connect people with rivers, inspiring a lifelong love and stewardship. We aim to put healthy rivers at the heart of communities and working with and supporting volunteers is integral to this vision.

Over the last 20 years, South East Rivers Trust (SERT) has engaged with more than 7,000 volunteers in making a positive difference to their local river. In total over 40,000 SERT volunteering hours have been donated to river clean-ups, planting days, river restoration events, invasive species management, formalized citizen science programmes, informative guided walks and workshops.

SERT’s ambition is to reach as many people as possible in the south east, to teach and show them the importance of rivers in the environment, and how everyone can play a part in restoring them. We also want to be more reflective of the diverse communities who live in the south east, and build partnerships within these communities to reach a broader audience. This is an exciting time to join the SERT team, with strategic projects on the horizon which will enable us to expand our volunteering and community outreach in terms of geography, demography and impact.

The role would suit someone with significant experience of working with volunteers and engaging local communities, as well as skills in project management and partnership working.

About us

The South East Rivers Trust is an environmental charity bringing rivers and their catchments back to life. Working in 12 river catchments across the South East, the Trust connects communities and mobilises citizen scientists to educate and engage people on the importance of rivers, and supports and challenges stakeholders, businesses and individuals to protect them. The Trust uses data and evidence to target positive action and works with nature to make rivers healthy again. This includes tackling water pollution, addressing water scarcity, reconnecting rivers and restoring habitats.

Working at the South East Rivers Trust is challenging, rewarding, fulfilling and busy; we work collaboratively and with passion, and this is reflected in our core values of: delivering high quality work, using expertise and scientific understanding, building good and effective relationships and bringing positive energy to all we do. If this sounds like an environment that you would thrive in, we would love to hear from you.

Key duties & responsibilities

Volunteer management and community outreach

  • Design and deliver an annual program of volunteering opportunities, including citizen science and practical river events, linking into existing initiatives, activities and partner organisations where relevant.
  • Coordinate our existing citizen science schemes (Riverfly, Outfall Safari, Eel and INNS monitoring), recruiting, supporting and training volunteers as required.
  • Design and deliver community outreach activities linked to the Trust’s projects that connect and inspire communities about the value of healthy rivers, including but not limited to guided walks, community talks, and workshops.
  • Monitor volunteering and community outreach activity and produce quarterly and other reports on their impact; as required for the Trust’s work and/or those needed to fulfil funders’ requirements.
  • Seek feedback from volunteers and participants to evaluate our organisational performance and use this to inform the development of the Trust’s approach to volunteering and outreach.
  • Oversee and prioritise the health, wellbeing and welfare of our active volunteers, abiding by the Trust’s Health & Safety policies and the upkeep of equipment and PPE.
  • Support the Head of Working with Communities to review and update procedures and processes to ensure high standards of management are applied consistently to volunteering and community outreach.
  • Mentor and support the Assistant Education & Engagement Officers. 

Grow the Trust’s volunteering and community outreach

  • Work across SERT’s teams to identify opportunities and design high quality and sustainable volunteering activities to help deliver project outcomes and meet Trust targets.
  • Identify barriers to engagement, particularly from under-represented groups and develop attractive and accessible new opportunities to engage new audiences.
  • Promote volunteering and event opportunities and relevant work of the Trust including writing articles for publication, e-newsletters, media/social media engagement, public talks, and representing the Trust and/or assisting Trust staff at events.
  • Research and apply for grants and other funding for the Trust to support the continuation and expansion of its community engagement programme.

Income generation

  • Lead and build the business case for a larger corporate volunteering programme at the Trust, generating a surplus income to support community activities.
  • Lead the application process for grant funding to support volunteering and engagement act

Person specification

Please keep this list of competencies in mind, together with the Trust’s core values when completing your application. Knowledge, experience, skills and aptitudes will be assessed through the application at interview.

Demonstrable experience of developing and managing a programme of volunteering and community outreach activities, reaching a diverse audience.

Demonstrable experience of leading and delivering practical work with volunteer teams.

Demonstrable experience of leading and delivering public presentations, guided walks and other community events.

Proven experience of project management including budgets, reporting and evaluation. Experience of working with people from a wide range of backgrounds and ages. Experience of working in partnership with a range of other organisations (NGO’s, volunteer groups, Local Authorities and Government Agencies).

Experience of running a corporate volunteering programme.

Previous experience of the Trust’s citizen science schemes.

Experience developing projects and applying for grant funding.

Hold licences/qualifications relevant to river habitat management and volunteer supervision (first aid, water safety, brushcutting/strimming).

Basic working knowledge of rivers and freshwater habitats.

A thorough understanding of the health and safety issues around working with volunteers and water.

An awareness of safeguarding in the content of volunteering.

Familiarity with the rivers of the south east of England.

Understanding of the drivers for businesses to support environmental work through volunteering or sponsorship.

Ability to manage, motivate and inspire volunteers from all walks of life.

Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to interact with and engage a range of audiences.

Strong organisational and planning skills, able to prioritise workloads.

Proficient IT skills, particularly MS Office and design software such as Canva.

Friendly and approachable attitude and the ability to be diplomatic when speaking to the public about potentially contentious issues.


Commitment to equality of opportunity.

Happy to work some weekends and evenings, particularly through months April – September, with time off in lieu.

Current driving licence and vehicle which can be used for work purposes, and happy to drive a van.

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Conditions of service

The successful candidate will be required to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Salary: £28,000 - £34,000 depending on level of qualifications and experience.

Contract period: Full time or 0.8 FTE. This contract, as temporary maternity cover, will terminate upon the return

of the employee on maternity leave, which we expect to be after 7 months.

Pension: SERT operates a contributory pension scheme and will pay 9% of salary subject to a 6% employee contribution.

Homeworking and vehicle: The Trust operates a mix of home and office based working, with travel across the SERT area, and so you will need to be able to provide a suitable home working environment, with the Trust office located in Leatherhead. We will provide a laptop and mobile phone. We would prefer the post-holder to be based in the SERT area, but this is not an absolute requirement. A full driving license and access to your own vehicle is required.

Annual leave: Annual leave entitlement is 25 days plus public holidays, pro rata for part time. For a seven month contract the annual leave entitlement would be 14.5 days plus public holidays.

Hours of work: The basic working week is 37.5 hours. Some evening or weekend work will be required for which time off in lieu can be taken. No overtime will be paid.

Right to work in UK: All applicants must have the right to work in the UK. We do not sponsor applicants from overseas.

Employee benefits

  • Hybrid working and homeworking
  • Flexible and part-time working opportunities
  • Pension contribution of 9% salary, subject to 6% employee contribution Life Assurance cover with SERT’s Pension Scheme
  • Annual Cost of Living Adjustment Review (COLA)
  • Enhanced leave policies including sickness and maternity
  • Four staff away days per year
  • Commitment to career development and training
  • Free Employee Assistance Programme
  • Wellbeing team, with trained Mental Health First Aiders

Application process

At SERT we believe in equality of opportunity and positively encourage applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of age, sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital/civil partnership status, or pregnancy and maternity. We are committed to better reflecting society and the communities who use, need and enjoy our rivers within our workforce. We welcome requests for flexible working. All applications will be judged solely on merit.