Tuesday 29th November 2016

Volunteers at Lower WoodsVolunteers at Lower Woods

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) has been busy in 2016, transforming its spectacular Lower Woods Reserve into a multi-use space through the Nature Reserves Restoration and Recreation Project, enabling the Trust to engage with the surrounding community on a scale never before seen at the site.

Work includes restoring ancient rides and pathways, and development of ‘citizen science events’ to monitor and support rare dormouse populations. Alongside this important woodland management, the Trust is providing a wealth of volunteering and training opportunities for people from the surrounding communities. Locals are being invited to participate in green woodworking and outdoor courses to further their education. GWT has also installed a beautiful yurt to provide a base for the ongoing community activities, education and volunteer groups.

the Trust will engage up to 140 people during the project and run 24 courses for the community

Long term supporter, Western Power Distribution (WPD), heard about the project and was keen to support from the outset. It has subsequently watched the project progress from concept to delivery.

The Trust is now entering the second phase of the project, having already held courses for adults who are currently unemployed, helping them to gain skills and confidence in a completely unique environment.

GWT Staff who manage the project have noticed real differences in candidates already; hands-on learning techniques in an outdoor environment have proven very effective for learning and wellbeing. In all the Trust will engage up to 140 people during the project and run 24 courses for the community on green woodworking and traditional craft.

Lucy England, Development Manager at GWT said: “We have been so lucky to work with such influential, engaged partners on this project. Western Power Distribution enabled us to ‘unlock’ funding from Cory Environmental Trust in Britain which has resulted in a fantastic facility at Lower Woods. This not only enables those on this course to gain skills and knowledge, but creates a magical space, which is real legacy of the project, helping hundreds of people to enjoy green space and wildlife. The support from WPD has included not only the funding, but a real hands-on approach, looking at project improvements and ways to get involved wherever possible.”

Angela Haymonds, Trust Secretary of Cory Environmental Trust in Britain said: “Having visited the project at Lower Woods and seen some of the participants from the community learning new skills, I can certainly see that this project brings untold benefits, which will impact on the people taking part as well as the Lower Woods Reserve for many years to come. CETB is thrilled to be working with WPD to enable this important project to be delivered through GWT.”