Scotland's red squirrel conservation groups have been asked to nominate their 'Volunteer of the Year'.

To mark volunteers week, running from June 1 to 7, the Red Squirrel Survival Trust has launched the new accolade to reward those who endeavour to ensure the future of the endangered native species, and asked volunteer groups across the UK to nominate individuals who demonstrate outstanding dedication and effectiveness in their work on the species' behalf.

The key factors for volunteer groups to consider when making their nomination are – length of service as a volunteer; personal qualities the individual brings to their volunteer role; and any achievements or involvement in particularly noteworthy projects.

Submissions can be made via a simple form on the RSST website, with the closing date for nominations being September 30, 2021.

The purpose of RSST is to protect the few remaining (estimate is well below 287,000) native red squirrels in the United Kingdom, and reverse the catastrophic decline in numbers which may otherwise see their extinction in as little as a decade in England.

Commenting on the launch of the new award, the RSST’s Mark Henderson said: “The past year has been a tremendously difficult one for all charities from a fundraising perspective and also for the volunteer groups, with Covid-19 disrupting many aspects of volunteer activities. In spite of this, volunteers across the country have continued to do everything in their power to carry on the fight to protect red squirrels from the threats they currently face. Volunteers and local community groups are absolutely integral to the protection and survival of this beautiful native species, with many essential developments coming out of the important work they do.

“The aim of this national award is to acknowledge and thank key individuals for their commitment. We’re excited that through these nominations we will hear more about these inspiring volunteers and their achievements.”