The amount of time local people give to volunteering for Countrycare, the council’s Countryside Management Service, increased by 10% last year up to near record levels.
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A total of 739 days of voluntary work were given in 2015 this equates to 4,434 hours donated. In financial terms at a rate of £7 per hour this has saved the council £31,038. 55 people volunteered during the year including 8 people who were new to volunteering. Work is carried out in all conditions whatever the weather throughout the year.
52 tasks have been completed at 20 different sites across the district. Chigwell Row Wood and Roughtalleys Wood in North Weald were visited the most often with 7 visits each. In 2015 the Countrycare team have worked with
- 6 Parish and Town Councils
- Essex Wildlife Trust
- Woodland Trust
- Harlow District Council
Making a difference in their local community
As well as routine maintenance of the Reserves they have replaced all of the benches and repaired fencing in Roughtalleys Wood, installed new steps to make access to the site easier at Weald Common, constructed a boardwalk at Linders Field, Buckhurst Hill and constructed and installed bat boxes at Bobbingworth and bird boxes at Norton Heath.
The new Community Orchard for Loughton was cleared and a variety of new trees planted by the volunteers. They also carried out wildflower surveys at all of the Countrycare reserves.
Countrycare is very appreciative of the work and effort put in by its band of volunteers in all weathers and has tried to make the work interesting and varied throughout the year. Indeed 5 volunteers attended over 40 of our tasks in the last calendar year.
A great volunteering opportunity
Councillor Gary Waller, Cabinet member with responsibility for Countrycare said: “We’re so grateful to our Countrycare volunteers who donate their time to ensure Epping Forest’s green spaces are maintained, as well as working hard to provide habitats for an abundance of wildlife.”
“Epping Forest Countrycare offers great volunteering opportunities, meeting every Thursday come rain or shine, with transport arranged so anyone can join in. If you’re interested in being outdoors, keeping fit and making a difference in your community, as well as socialising with likeminded people, get in touch.”
Countrycare can tackle more ambitious and challenging management work on the 9 Local Nature Reserves and other Local Wildlife Sites because of the support, experience, dedication and support of its volunteers.
Interested in becoming a Countrycare volunteer?