Celebrating our supporters this #VolunteersWeek

Date posted: 4 June 2019

Most charities rely heavily on volunteers and MCS is no different. Since our small beginnings over 35 years ago in a garden shed, volunteers have been our life-blood. From just a handful of like-minded people our volunteer base is now in the thousands – and we couldn’t function without them!

South Queensferry GBBC 2018

We could not function without these volunteers - they are the wind beneath our sails, without them we’d literally be at sea!

Justine Millard,
Head of Volunteer and Community Engagement

Beach clean volunteers and organisers, Sea Champions, Seasearch divers, Fundraisers, Local Groups and office support – our volunteers bring their varied skills to MCS and help make us the organisation we have become. A charity with the sea at its heart and people at its soul.

Our Beachwatch programme, which includes the Great British Beach Clean event each September, collects not only litter from hundreds of UK beaches but our volunteers (of which thousands have taken part over the past 25 years) also record what they find. The data they’ve collected has helped make some of the most significant impacts on beach litter ever - the plastic bag charge, microplastics banned in personal care products, better wet wipe labelling, and more recently the ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton bud sticks coming April 2020.

Seasearch has seen thirty years of sending divers down to collect vital data from around our coasts. The information collected by Seasearch divers has contributed to the creation of Marine Protected Areas around UK coasts by identifying species and habitats that are at risk from destructive practices. Divers have spent more than 10,000 hours surveying underwater.

Our Sea Champions programme began in 2012 and since then our team of Sea Champion Volunteer Managers have now trained over 650 volunteers who have given over 30,000 hours of their time. They do everything from manning stalls at events, taking the MCS message into schools and working in our head office, to organising beach cleans, participating in campaigns, giving talks, species surveying, raising funds and promoting sustainable seafood choices in their local community.

A massive, massive thank you to everyone who has ever been kind enough to give some of their time to help us because we really, really couldn’t do what we do without our wonderful volunteers!

Actions you can take