The Colne Valley Regional Park is home to many open spaces and nature reserves and the care of some of these is in the hands of local Conservation Groups where volunteers dedicate their time to enhance their open space for wildlife and recreation. There are different volunteer groups spread across the valley from Staines up to Rickmansworth and all do their bit to help improve their part of the Colne Valley.
This project aims to help support and connect these conservation groups to enable them to garner skills and continue the amazing work that they do. Regular newsletters and events will enable groups to keep in touch with what is happening across the valley and learn about the activities of other groups. Expertise exchange sessions will involve a skilled member of one group sharing their knowledge with another group. A good example would be in the delivery of a guided bat walk to share their knowledge of bat ecology.
Further to better connecting these groups there is also funding to provide some groups with tools and training to allow them to complete work they may not have been able to complete before. Training could be in anything from chainsaw training to species specific survey training.
The last major aspect of the group support project will be the hiring of 3 conservation trainees. These placements will be advertised and available to applications and will team budding conservationists up with Groundwork South and help them gain the experience they need. They will be given a budget for training and a bursary for travel expenses and we feel this project will really help develop the careers of 3 lucky people.
All in all we feel this project will help build on the already fantastic work of volunteers in the Colne Valley and provide a lasting legacy by which key sites will be cared for in the future.