‘I want to do my bit’: a passionate protector

Avatar for Debbie McConnell
By Debbie McConnell

Debbie McConnell is a trustee and chair of CPRE Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester. She tells us what she loves about volunteering, what she’s passionate about – and what gives her the heebie-jeebies…

I’m passionate about the countryside, the natural world and the environment. I love spiders and scary stuff, as well as otters and bluebells. I want to do my bit and make a difference locally and nationally.

'Through my volunteering I’ve made new friends across the country, learned a lot, gained confidence, enhanced my existing skills and gained many new ones.'

I’m involved in the day-to-day management of the charity with a team including trustees, a professional planning manager, an administrator, a website and social media manager and of course, our brilliant volunteers. As chair, I manage the paid staff and lead on strategy, implementation of national and local policies, governance, PR and training.

Heebie-jeebies handled

Through my volunteering, I’ve made new friends across the country, learned a lot, gained confidence, enhanced my existing skills and gained many new ones.

I love every minute of my role except speaking in public – which gives me the heebie-jeebies! For over 20 years I worked in the legal profession and occasionally I had to speak in court. I had a script and knew what I was going to say, so as soon as I stood up and started it was fine. I did it and did not die! But I still feel like I’m putting my head above the parapet!

Our precious planet

Amongst other things, the team and I help to prevent, or mitigate the effect of, inappropriate development on the countryside and vital green spaces. We promote the importance of the countryside for all to our members and beyond, and share learning on environmental and planning issues. It gives me huge satisfaction.

Our work is vital to managing the climate and biodiversity crises. The countryside gives me such joy – the scenery, the trees and flowers, peace and tranquillity, the bird song and the wildlife. Without it, we’re all diminished.

As guardians of planet earth, we must leave it in better shape for future generations of people and wildlife. People need green space for their mental and physical health and wellbeing. This is why I’m a volunteer for CPRE, the countryside charity.

Could you spare some time to volunteer for your local CPRE and stand with the countryside that you love? Learn more about the experience of volunteering for CPRE, the countryside charity, or drop us a line: volunteeringteam@cpre.org.uk.

Debbie McConnell and team at CPRE Lancashire AGM
Debbie McConnell and team at CPRE Lancashire CPRE Lancashire