Make a difference in 2024 as a volunteer at Livability Millie College

by Helen Barnes // January 3 2024

For more than 20 years, Les Golding has volunteered at Holton Lee, the 350-acre nature reserve that is home to Livability Millie College. Here he talks about what volunteering means to him.

There are not many places that feel like home. Holton Lee is one of those places.

It had an immediate impact on Les Golding. His association with Holton Lee started when it was formerly East Holton Charity. The charity had a lasting influence on Les, and his family. So much so, in 2001, they moved from Epsom to Dorset to be more involved.

Having retired six years ago after a career in the Royal Mail and as a carer, Les splits his time between volunteering as a reading buddy at a local school and devoting a day a week to working at Holton Lee. He has also been integral over the years in fundraising and often supports at local events, selling products made on site.

“I’ve always enjoyed nature and being and working outdoors, he says. “Working with likeminded people, in small groups, there is a real camaraderie.”

“Holton Lee has always held a very special place in my heart. It is an amazing place to get to know people. You are working together mostly on the land. It’s a place where you can open up and chat as much or as little as you like.

“Volunteering has helped me become more relaxed in myself.”

Tasks are many and varied, from helping to dig the ground in readiness for metal work to be installed for polytunnels, to planting crops in the garden or clearing a pond.

Volunteers like Les support the college’s enterprise activities which are at the heart of the curriculum, empowering young people with skills that encourage and support independence in adult life.

Pinning his volunteering journey down to one highlight is difficult, but Les recalls how working on the heathland last summer, several people spotted a sea eagle flying overhead. It was one of those ‘wow’ moments, he says.

Les was also privileged to have met Livability Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, during her recent visit to the college to mark its first anniversary.

Volunteering opportunities at Livability Millie College 

Could you support the college’s enterprise activities?

If you could spare a few hours a week, volunteer roles are available in animal care, conservation, events and community engagement, horticulture and supporting the college’s post-25 Flourish programme.

To find out more, email