7th June 2017
Volunteers who lend a hand at parks, nature reserves and open spaces around the country have been recognised at the Land Trust Awards 2017.
The Land Trust, a national land management charity, used the awards ceremony in London to highlight the dedication and passion that hundreds of people show by helping out at their local site. Staff from the Land Trust and rangers from the charity’s managing partners submitted many nominations for the Volunteer of the Year accolade, and during the judging panel they shared stories and examples of people’s commitment to the natural environment.
Ian Roberts, who helps out regularly at the Countess of Chester Country Park in Cheshire, was the eventual winner, chosen because he has fully embraced volunteering for the park and not only given many hours of his time, but gained a lot from the experience too.
For Ian, the Country Park is much more than just a pleasant place for a walk and has become integral to his daily life. He began by taking part in practical volunteering sessions, and went on to complete the Green Angels training programme that was run by the Land Trust earlier this year. Having discovered the benefits of spending time outdoors, gained confidence and realised a passion for the natural world, he joined the Friends of Countess of Chester Country Park group, was voted in as Chair and now dedicates a lot of his spare time to looking after the park and encouraging people to visit.
“I just love being outside,” Ian said. “And at the same time I’m learning and getting more experience.”
Highly commended were Ken Taylor from Warren House Park in Doncaster, and Mike Little from Mayles Lane in Fareham.
Shortlisted volunteers were; Andrew Devine & team from Fort Burgoyne in Dover, Pete Chambers from Pleasley in Mansfield, Elliot Montieth from Port Sunlight River Park in Wirral, and Natalie Girgis and Dave Cooke from Rabbit Ings Country Park in Royston.
Alan Carter, Director of Portfolio Management at the Land Trust, said: “We can’t thank our volunteers enough for everything they do. From cutting grass and trimming hedges, to laying paths and recording wildlife; they support our sites in all sorts of ways. They never tire of doing something hands-on to help their local environment and, vitally, get so much out of it themselves.
“Many volunteers tell us that the chance to be outside, make new friends and get active work wonders for their physical and mental health, their social lives and even their careers.
“Once again, a big thank you to everyone who gives up their time and energy to help us care for green spaces around the country.”
To find out about volunteering opportunities at the Land Trust’s sites across the country, visit www.thelandtrust.org.uk/help-us/volunteering/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For some children it's probably their first encounter with wildlife, so for them it's a really good educational place.
Emily, Site Ranger, Bentley Community Woodland
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