Conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has announced that its army of more than 3000 volunteers have made a contribution of more than £1 million this year - not in actual money but in the number of hours they worked.
Thousands of people all over the country donate their time and expertise to the charity which celebrated its 80th Anniversary in 2011. The Trust cares for 129 heritage properties and 76,000 ha of some of the wildest and most spectacular countryside in Scotland including 46 Munros, 424km of mountain footpaths, seven National Nature Reserves, 45 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, the UK's only natural and cultural World Heritage Site (St Kilda), over 400 islands and islets, Scotland's first voluntary marine reserve and the nest sites of over one million breeding seabirds.
Since March 2011, 3000 volunteers have freely given 165,689 hours to the charity. Volunteers work in a range of roles at properties all over Scotland including footpath repairs.
NTS Chief Executive Kate Mavor said:
'We have always known that our volunteers contributed a great deal to the Trust. In fact, without their dedication and talent, our charity would simply be unable to carry out the conservation work that we do, day in day out. Their contribution is massive and now we know that in monetary terms it comes in at over £1 million. These selfless and skilled people are making a difference not just to the Trust but to Scotland's heritage. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one who helps us in our vital work to conserve and promote the places that are in our care, for the benefit of the nation.'
The Trust may arguably have undervalued their volunteers' time since the £1million figure was apparently calculated on minimum wage rates.
The range of volunteering opportunities currently available is detailed on the NTS website.