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Making a difference in Somerset

Mia Foord
By Mia Foord

CPRE groups have many young, passionate volunteers who want to make a difference in their local community and beyond. We had the chance to speak with Jasmine Boniface, a litter pick volunteer with CPRE Somerset, who believes volunteering provides a brilliant opportunity ‘to be part of something bigger.’

Currently on her gap year before heading to university, Jasmine has been a 2-minute litter pick volunteer with CPRE Somerset since May 2023. During her break away from education, she was keen to get involved in some new opportunities alongside working full-time, including some environmental volunteering. When she came across the advertised litter picker role with CPRE, it seemed like the perfect fit: ‘I knew this role wouldn’t take up too much of my time, but also meant that I could do something important in my community.’

CPRE Somerset’s litter project has been running since late 2020 and so far, they’ve given out almost 300 litter picking kits to volunteers across the county. Many volunteers, like Jasmine, pledge to litter pick in their local area. Jasmine explains that ‘litter is a serious issue in the area where I live, so I really wanted to help address this problem and make a difference.’

A passion for protecting the countryside

Jasmine lives in a busy town, but within five minutes she can be among nature. Her family love to be outdoors, having embarked on lots of walks and camping holidays together in the countryside over the years. ‘I’ve definitely grown up with an appreciation for the outdoors and the countryside’, she tells us.

Her dad also works in the renewable energy sector: ‘I think seeing what he does helped inspire my interest in protecting the environment and addressing climate change.’

'I have a lot of passion about countryside and climate issues, and I think volunteering provides a great way to channel this into something'

As someone who’s passionate about protecting the countryside, Jasmine became quite anxious when she first learnt about environmental threats like climate change and plastic pollution in school. However, she adds that ‘studying geography helped me to see that there are ways to address and resolve environment and climate issues. Sometimes it feels like we can’t do anything, but we can.’

‘I have a lot of passion about countryside and climate issues, and I think volunteering provides a great way to channel this into something.’

A stepping stone towards a green career

As a litter picker, Jasmine volunteers as and when she can. This flexibility makes it easier for her to fit volunteering alongside her other commitments. ‘But I also feel like I’m making a difference and that I’m doing something to help my local countryside and natural areas. I often get my family involved when we go out for dog walks too!.

Outside of volunteering, Jasmine also really enjoys acting and drama; ‘I’m currently participating in a production of Oklahoma with my local operatic society. Originally, I thought I was going to go to drama school, but I had to decide between acting or geography.’ She decided to follow her passion for the environment and believes that volunteering with CPRE has opened up the bigger picture: ‘I now have an insight into the real-world context of environmental issues, which will be invaluable as I begin my Environmental Science degree in September.’

Challenges for young people in the countryside

As a young person who really enjoys being in the countryside, Jasmine feels that the declining accessibility of countryside is having a big impact on young people like her: ‘I love going to forests and wild areas, but I feel that the landscape is changing, with some of these wild areas being replaced with commercial agriculture or new housing developments.’ She recalls: ‘I used to be able to see green fields of sheep from my bedroom window, but now all I see are new builds.’

‘This makes me wonder how I’m going to be able to buy a home one day- it’s likely that I’ll be priced out of the area.’ She also thinks that this loss of wild areas ‘has created a sense of detachment from nature for many young people.’

Young people and volunteering

Jasmine feels that there aren’t enough environmental volunteering opportunities that are well-targeted to young people living in rural towns and villages. ‘There weren’t many suitable opportunities out there for me, until I found this litter picking role with CPRE Somerset. They were super easy to contact and are a really friendly charity- I’d really like to get more involved with CPRE in the future!’ Jasmine believes volunteering is a brilliant opportunity for young people: ‘I think it’s a really good idea to dip your toe in volunteering; you really do feel like you’re part of something bigger! So, if you’re considering volunteering with CPRE, I[‘d say go for it!’

Find out more

You can find out more about Jasmine’s volunteer role and how you can get involved in the #2minute Litterpick project at CPRE Somerset by visiting their website. If you think you’d like to volunteer for your local CPRE group and stand with the countryside, take a look at our volunteering pages and current opportunities, or get in touch with us at

Photo of Jasmine sat in the countryside
Jasmine Boniface


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