Surrey Choices Growth Team become Surrey Hills Conservation Volunteers
Surrey Choices Growth Team became the first Surrey Hills Conservation Volunteers. They are undertaking conservation work at Newlands Corner to helping to manage access and habitats for people and nature.
The Surrey Hills Conservation Volunteers project has been made possible with funding from the Surrey Hills Farming in Protective Landscapes (FiPL) grant. The project is also supported by Surrey Hills Society, Surrey Hills Trust Fund and Surrey County Council.
The FiPL funding aims to develop and enhance the landscape, whilst enabling supported adults to gain important skills. These skills include horticulture, conservation and working in public spaces. The goal is to help transition volunteers into the workplace.
A visit from Lord Benyon
On a recent visit to view some of the Surrey Hills FiPL funded projects in action. Lord Benyon, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was full of praise. He commented on how delighted he was “to meet the talented and passionate Surrey Hills family and their partners for what was a vibrant and informative day.” He went on to say: “It was wonderful to hear about the valuable work being undertaken to support native species and improve access for the public.”
Feedback appreciated by the Growth Team
The group from Surrey Choices were particularly impressed by the way Lord Benyon wanted to talk directly with them. He was interested to get a real picture of the benefits that team members are getting from undertaking this type of conservation work.
Mark Evenden, Senior Activity Facilitator at Surrey Choices explained. “The Minister and his guests watched the team in action. They seemed mightily impressed by the work that was being carried out.”
The group was using machinery to clear the dense bramble and small trees across the grassland. Some of the staff team were also operating chainsaws to clear the larger trees.
Supporting native species and creating habitat corridors
This winter will see over 7.5km of new hedgerows being planted. More than 6km of this will be as part of a collaborative hedge planting project involving eight different land holdings across the Surrey Hills. They will be planting hedgerows to help support native species and create vital habitat corridors across the landscape.
The Surrey Choices Growth Team has already been helping other landowners with their projects.
Hedge planting at Albury Vineyard
At Albury Vineyard the Surrey Choices Growth Team completed planting two single rows of 50m hedge (totalling 100m).
Getting started at Manor Farm
With the help of our Conservation Volunteers and supported by the Surrey Hills Society. Manor Farm in Wotton kicked off their ambitious planting of over 4km of hedgerow. The Growth Team worked extremely hard preparing the Hedgerow site and planted 121 trees in the same day.
The Surrey Hills National Landscape is recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is one of 46 nationally protected landscapes in the UK.
This collaborative project is set to benefit the beautiful Surrey Hills landscape, wildlife and the many people who visit. Keep up to date with our progress at: https://www.surreyhills.org/surrey-choices-surrey-hills/
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