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Committee Volunteer Roles

Our volunteers work hard to improve life for horses and horse lovers in their area and across the UK. They are part of an essential team that helps to deliver our charitable objectives on a local level through fundraising, raising awareness and putting on events.

Details of our key volunteer roles are summarised below. We'll provide you with support, training, resources and a volunteer network that will be there to help and guide you in your role.

If you want to get involved with your committee, but are not ready to take on a specialised role you can join as a committee member. Find out more about the BHS in your area.

If you are interested in volunteering with us please get in touch at volunteer@bhs.org.uk.

Our Roles

Access and Bridleways Officer   Membership Secretary

Welfare Officer Treasurer

Safety Officer  Secretary

Communications & Marketing Officer  Vice Chairman

Education and Events Officer Chairman

Surrey Volunteers with County Council and Ramblers

​Surrey Volunteers join forces with the County Council and Ramblers

Access and Bridleways Officer

Are you:

  • Passionate about the importance of off-road routes for equestrians?
  • Able to use and read a map?
  • Determined and able to work on detailed tasks with consistency and accuracy?

Nearly all equestrians are affected by a lack of accessible, connected routes to ride or carriage drive their horse safely. Our Access and Rights of way volunteers work to protect existing off-road routes for equestrians, extend these where possible, and promote riding out throughout the UK. Thanks to them, we have had some incredible successes throughout the UK in restoring, opening up and connecting access: from bridleways, byways and multi-user routes to beaches, forest, commonland and even developing long distance equestrian routes. 

We provide our Volunteer Access and Bridleways Officers with the training and information they need to protect access when it is under threat in their local area and to proactively extend access where possible. You will learn how to resolve common problems that equestrians find frustrating and as opportunities arise, find old routes that are still in use or would benefit the community and advocate for them to be reinstated. You may choose to walk or ride routes around you so that you can report damage to the local council and keep the routes accessible for all. 

You will need:

  • A passion to help protect, preserve and extend off-road routes for equestrians in your area
  • Access to a computer with an internet connection
  • Availability to attend training days 
  • An interest in developing your understanding of land legislation 

Welfare Officer

Are you:

  • Knowledgable about horse care and welfare with extensive practical experience (equivalent to BHS Stage 3 Care as minimum)
  • A great communicator, diplomatic, sympathetic, able to have difficult conversations and positively influence people
  • A passionate educator with the skills and knowledge to help local equestrians stay current with their horse care

Many welfare cases result from lack of knowledge or understanding rather than willful cruelty. Our Welfare Officers work to prevent welfare cases through advice, support and education, building up relationships with their local equestrians so people feel comfortable asking for support when they need it.

Diplomacy is paramount, nobody wants to hear they have let their horse down or worse, caused them pain. Horse owners can feel overwhelmed, embarrassed or uncomfortable; sometimes they are genuinely going through a very difficult time: loss of a family member, financial difficulties; our Welfare Officers advocate for the horse while supporting the owner.  

Some of our Welfare Officers take additional training in our ‘Friends at the End’ scheme. These volunteers are paired up with owners local to them who need to make end of life decisions for their horses. 

As you can imagine our Volunteer Welfare Officers are very compassionate people, but this role can take an emotional toll. It is important that you know when to stop, when to remove yourself from a situation, when to take a breather. We are looking for people who are emotionally resilient and have other hobbies or interests they can unwind with.

You will need:

  • Access to a car, mobile telephone and private email address
  • Availability to attend training days and seminars
  • To take responsibility for following the law (we will teach you about this) and working within our policies and guidelines
  • An interest and willingness to cooperate with our partners and other organisations working in this field

You will only be able to act on behalf of the Society when you have completed introductory training and been issued with an ID card.

Welfare Coordinator Sophie Cookson sunscreens a horse

Welfare Coordinator, Sophie Cookson, demonstrating the importance of sunscreen.

Safety Officer

Are you:

  • Passionate about helping people stay safe when they are out and about on their horse?
  • A skilled communicator, able to educate and inform while keeping it light and interesting?
  • A curious learner, interested to find out more about all things safety?

As the amount and size transport on roads grows it presents more and more of a danger to vulnerable road users, but off road there are challenges too: off-road routes are used by a wide variety of users, many of whom don't understand horses or their needs. Horses also face other human-made challenges that they struggle to cope with, fireworks, helicopters and more recently, drones. 

The BHS is working to help equestrians learn how to cope with these challenges and keep their horses safe. Over the last couple of years that has included commissioning research into the best hi-viz clothing, raising awareness with riders and drivers about equestrian safety on the roads and developing our new Ride Safe Award. 

As a Volunteer Safety Officer you will work with your local committee to put on awareness raising events, incorporate safety messages into local communications and events, give presentations (we will provide the material) that will inform and educate and promote the Ride Safe Award; helping people keep themselves and their horses safe. 

We will provide you with materials and information to help you learn about safety and develop your knowledge in the field. 

You will need:

  • An interest in reading and learning about new safety developments
  • Confidence to speak in front of groups of people and to individuals, presenting and spreading the word to help people stay safe
  • Enthusiasm for working with others as part of a team
  • An interest and willingness to cooperate with our partners and other organisations working locally in this field

Communications and Marketing Officer

Are you:

  • Passionate about all things BHS?
  • Skilled in writing, using social media and taking pictures? 
  • Sociable and interested in talking to members and local equestrians about the BHS and the work of your committee?

This role is vital to making sure the hard work our committees do is supported and recognised both within the BHS and throughout the larger equestrian community.

Our Communications Officers are essential to raising the profile of the Society. They use social media, newsletters, posters and photos to showcase local initiatives and national campaigns, inspiring people to support us and get involved with our activities and helping to recruit new volunteers and members.

You might find yourself attending shows, pleasure rides and events to take pictures, talk to attendees and support the committee, then creating engaging, inspiring content and sharing our successes.

This role provides important support to our National and Regional Managers by helping them deliver key communications such as the Annual Report. 

You will need:

  • An interest in supporting your committee, helping them to build awareness of their activities in the local community
  • Access to a computer with internet access, a mobile phone with internet access may also be of benefit
  • To take responsibility for keeping all communications within the BHS brand guidelines and following our policies on communications and data protection

BHS Lancashire Volunteer with a BHS stand at an event.

Lancashire Volunteer, Anita, attending an event with the BHS stand.

Education and Events Officer

 Are you:

  • Excited about the idea of organising and facilitating educational opportunities and events to local equestrians?
  • Passionate about the BHS and our education ethos? 
  • Enthusiastic about working as part of a team?
  • Keen to fundraise for your local committee?

Our Education and Events Officers are an important element of the committee. They often have skills in event management or experience with the BHS Education Programme and will help the committee design and organise fun, interesting and educational events locally.

These roles are all about having fun, building the equestrian skills and knowledge of people in your area and getting people involved with horses and the BHS. You will be meeting lots of like-minded people, having new experiences and building your skills and knowledge. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your events are supporting the charitable aims of the BHS.

You will work with other committee members to ensure all events are safe and well organised. You will work with the Marketing and Communications Officer to help promote the events and attend to ensure they go off without a hitch.

You will need:

  • An interest in developing your knowledge and skills in event management
  • Access to a computer with internet access
  • A basic knowledge of health and safety
  • An interest in developing your equestrian network locally, helping you find venues for events and build relationships with possible speakers, Accredited Professional Coaches, presenters, volunteers and members.
  • To take responsibility for following our guidance and policies, ensuring your events are safe and legal.

Membership Secretary

Are you:

  • Passionate about all things BHS?
  • An excellent communicator, able to converse easily with members of the public and equestrians?
  • A bit of a sales person, able to share what the BHS does in a way that will engage and inspire people to become members?

Membership is the lifeblood of the British Horse Society. BHS members provide not only valuable financial support for the charitable work of the organisation but also provide the organisation with a powerful voice and volunteer resource to deliver our charitable objectives.

Membership Secretaries support the committee, sharing data on the number of members in the area and encouraging new members to join. You might attend shows and local events to promote membership and you will help your committee to recruit new members.

You will need:

  • A positive, enthusiastic attitude
  • An understanding of the BHS, its history, charitable objectives and campaigns
  • An enthusiasm for working as part of a team

Treasurer

Are you:

  • Good with numbers and finance?
  • Thrilled by the idea of an accurate, well organised spreadsheet?
  • Confident in using computers and Excel?

Our Treasurers come from all sorts of backgrounds, from family budgeting to managing the books for a yard to high finance. We are looking for people with the time and experience to carry out their role, but knowledge of the BHS or even horses isn't necessarily essential. 

You will be the steward of the committee’s finances, as well as being responsible for the day-to-day financial record keeping and reporting you will help your committee to plan and budget for the future, finding ways to use the money they raise to effectively deliver our charitable objectives locally.

You will need:

  • Access to a computer with internet access and the Microsoft Excel Programme
  • Experience of keeping books, budgeting and working with online banks
  • A couple of hours' worth of time spread over the month to check in with your committee, keep the books and action expenses
  • To take responsibility for keeping your committee's accounts and expenditure in line with our Financial Regulations and policies
  • A basic understanding of the BHS and what we do and an interest in helping your committee achieve their goals by looking after their accounts

Two horses canter on the Keysoe Pleasure Ride

Two riders on our BHS Bedfordshire Committee's annual Keysoe Pleasure Ride

Secretary

 Are you:

  • A good organiser, good at listening and taking notes?
  • Great with people, helping them connect and work together?
  • A great written communicator, good at finding just the right thing to say or communicating a big idea simply?

In many cases Secretaries are the heart of a committee. They help the committee to stay connected and informed between meetings, they take and share the minutes and action points of the meetings and introduce new members to the team. Secretaries usually organise and set up committee meetings and refreshments.

You will need:

  • To be a good administrator and organiser
  • To have access to a computer with internet access and a telephone
  • To be confident in using Microsoft Word and have the ability to produce accurate, typed minutes within a couple of weeks of each meeting.
  • Time to organise, set up and attend each committee meeting (at least four a year) and check your email regularly to ensure the committee stays connected and well informed
  • To take responsibility for following our policies and data protection guidance to keep the information you hold about the committee secure

Vice-Chairman - An Elected Role

Are you:

  • Interested in learning leadership skills?
  • Passionate about the BHS and our charitable objectives?
  • Enthusiastic about helping people become their best selves and develop their confidence and skills?

Vice Chairmen are the first step to continuity for a committee. They are a backup for the Chairman and provide support for the Secretary. Vice Chairmen will often take on their role out of an interest in becoming a Chairman. 

You will work with your Chairman to support your local volunteer team, encouraging quieter volunteers to attend meetings and take part, or inspiring growth and development in younger or newer volunteers to ensure a succession plan for the committee.

The Chairman may delegate tasks to you, this will help them support the committee and help you develop your own people skills. This might include chairing meetings and attending Regional or National Committee meetings. Many of our Vice Chairmen go on to become Chairmen in the future.

You will need:

  • An interest in building and developing teams, developing leadership skills and running committee meetings
  • Good organisational and people skills
  • Access to a computer with internet access and a mobile phone
  • Time to attend committee meetings at least four times a year and support the committee as needed

Chairman - An Elected Role

Are you:

  • Passionate about leading and building teams?
  • Interested in being involved with the BHS on a local, regional or national level?
  • Good at inspiring people and supporting them to achieve their best?

The Chairman of a committee has a major influence on the way that a committee works together. They determine the tone of meetings, they lead by example and ensure meetings are civilised, fun and well organised gatherings.

Our Chairmen can be elected for up to two terms of three years. They ensure that committee meetings are well run, keeping to time and focused on the goals of that committee, that there is time for problems to be discussed and for the committee to make decisions.

As Chairman you will need to attend the National/Regional Committee Meetings up to three times a year to give feedback about local problems, successes and events. These meetings are a great opportunity to share ideas and knowledge with other teams. When a National/Regional Chairman is not able to attend the Regional Chairmen’s meeting at HQ a local Chairman might attend instead.

You will work closely with your Vice Chairman, you will share your workload with them, including giving them an opportunity to attend National/Regional Committee Meetings. Where possible you will delegate tasks to them (including chairing meetings on occasion) so they can build their skills to become a Chairman in future.

As the Chairman you will be an advocate for The British Horse Society and our work in your area.

You will need:

  • A passion for the BHS and all we stand for
  • To be good at taking control and encouraging decisive action
  • An interest in growing and developing your team, making opportunities to find new people to contribute or develop the skills of current team members
  • An enthusiasm for working closely with your National/Regional Manager to develop the committee and grow your impact
  • Access to a computer with internet access and a mobile phone
  • Time to attend committee meetings (at least four times a year, sometimes more) and support the committee as needed

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