Land Trust Annual Review 2021: Charitable Delivery - Community Cohesion and Volunteering

17th February 2022

Volunteering and the engagement of local communities is an extremely valuable way of enhancing our sites and creating emotional ownership among our communities and residents. Not only is it important on our wide variety of parks and green spaces but it is also particularly crucial on the eight service charge sites we manage. Bringing these new communities together is a crucial part of the work we do on behalf of our residents.

Volunteering activities have obviously been hugely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with the requirements of social distancing preventing many of our usual events from being able to take place.

However the contribution made by our volunteer workforce cannot be overestimated and we are incredibly grateful for the huge amount of work that they do across our parks and green spaces. Many of our volunteers helped keep our spaces safe and clean throughout the pandemic, which was absolutely vital as many of our sites saw a huge increase in footfall due to people having more time as they were either working from home or on furlough.

Volunteer of the Year

Morag Scargill was deservedly voted Volunteer of the Year for her hard work and dedication at Countess of Chester Country Park.

Morag used the time in the Covid-19 pandemic to put together many funding bids to benefit the park. These exceeded £20,000 and meant that when restrictions were lifted the park was ready to go with many new and varied activities.

Morag also signed up with The Conservation Volunteers as a volunteer officer to help run projects, knowing that being outdoors in the environment is of huge benefit in these troubled times, and recognised that many of the people who will be engaged by these projects are some of the most vulnerable people in society who need the engagement most.

Morag has continued to show how caring and compassionate she is to the people who engage in the projects that the Friends and TCV have been running through the pandemic. Even when in lockdown, she continued to volunteer, keeping in contact with people over the phone and digitally working for not only the good of the park but also for the good of the community in the area.

Community Space of the Year

One of the Land Trust’s service charge sites, Merlin Park, was voted Community Space of the Year. Already a vibrant park and community space before the Covid-19 pandemic, the challenging times really brought this new community together.

The local residents and surrounding community really valued being able to use the green spaces throughout the various periods of lockdown while the Rainbow trail encouraged people to get out of their houses and interacting with their neighbours even with all the social distancing restrictions in place.

The community also came together at Christmas, with many of the homeowners decorating their houses to bring some much needed festive cheer.

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