End of an era for long-term volunteers at DWT
Thursday 6th October 2016
Volunteers from Richmond Fellowship based in Poole will be hanging up their spades for the final time this month, after 8 years of volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT).
The group have given up their time to take part in a wide variety of vital conservation work, most recently helping The Great Heath team with tasks in east Dorset such as clearing rivers, pulling invasive Himalayan Balsam, wildlife survey work, and repairing footpaths.
The group supports people with complex mental health issues
Richmond Fellowship Group supports local people with complex mental health issues as a result of substance misuse, social isolation and homelessness. Due to lack of funding, the Poole branch of the group will no longer be operating.
"I've enjoyed spending time in beautiful places"
Service user, Roger Little, who lives with social anxiety, Asperger’s and OCD, has been volunteering since June 2015. He said, “I never thought I would like working outside, but I have really enjoyed spending time in beautiful places and learning about wildlife from the experts by volunteering with DWT. It’s a great distraction from the rat race in towns and cities, and people are always interested to hear about what I’ve learnt. It’s also good to get to know new people.”
"Volunteering has really helped with my confidence"
John Butler has been volunteering for 2 ½ years. He said, “When I started this I was in a bad way, but volunteering has been a great support to me psychologically and it’s been the most helpful thing throughout my recovery. It’s also really helped with my confidence.”
"Come rain or shine, they have never let us down!"
DWT’s Great Heath Conservation Officer, Megan Lowe said, “We are so thankful to the volunteers from the Richmond Fellowship for all their support over the last 8 years. Volunteers are a huge part of our conservation work in Dorset and come rain or shine they have never let us down! We hope they continue to use outside space during their continued recovery, and they would be very welcome to continue volunteering with DWT outside the group.”
"A huge benefit on their mental health and well-being"
Stephen Smith-Trask, managing director for Richmond Fellowship (south), said: “Reflecting on this fantastically successful partnership it’s incredible to see the progress people using our services have made through volunteering with the Dorset Wildlife Trust.”
“Through their volunteer work people have reconnected with nature and played a key role in preserving some of the areas outstanding natural habitats. In turn this has had a huge benefit on their mental health and well-being and we’re extremely thankful for the support over the last 8 years.”
Get involved with volunteering
DWT awarded Richmond Fellowship volunteers in 2011 with the ‘Helen Brotherton’ group volunteering award, in recognition of their commitment and enthusiasm towards wildlife.
If you would like to get involved with volunteering for the Great Heath Living Landscape project, please contact Megan Lowe on 01202 692033.Explore all DWT’s volunteering opportunities here, or phone 01305 264620.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
The Great Heath Living Landscape an Urban Living Landscape in Dorset will deliver the following exciting objectives:
Sites include land at Hampreston and High Mead Lane, Award Road, Ferndown Common, Delph Wood, Arrowsmith Copse, Dunyeats Hill, Corfe Lodge Road, Upton Heath, Beacon Hill, Cottage Farm (Happy Bottom), Ashington Paddock, Barrow Hill, Wimborne Road, Rushcombe Bottom, Parley Common, Tricketts Cross, Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay.
The full Great Heath Living Landscape project will cost will be £4.7 million, we have already secured £2 million and have been awarded £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and need to raise further funds by public appeal.
The Great Heath Living Landscape is a partnership project involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council Countryside Service, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Partners also include Bournemouth Borough Council, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils and Natural England.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with £6bn across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.
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