Over the last few years Rushcliffe Borough Council has been funding Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to undertake additional activities to promote conservation in the area under a Service Level Agreement (SLA), a method of funding that has subsequently been picked up by a number of other councils in Nottinghamshire. The following is a précis covering the work the Trust (staff and volunteers) does in Rushcliffe.
In the past three years NWT have created management plans for Sharphill Wood, The Hook, The Green Line, Meadow Covert and Owthorpe Fishponds. It has also helped set up or provided advice and support to eight ‘Friends’ Groups, on a whole variety of issues from work parties to fundraising and websites. In addition we continue to manage our five nature reserves, which provide a range of opportunities for volunteer input and act as educational and training resources. In 2010/11 some 6,924 volunteer hours (estimated as worth £45k) were recorded for practical conservation work around the borough (not including committee or wardening or survey work). Further, a number of training opportunities were provided including first aid, hedge laying, survey and other practical skills.
The Trust also provides advice to landowners on wildlife-friendly management – carrying out 12 visits in 2010 plus 10 visits to Farmland B&B sites, 10 to Blue Butterfly and Grasslands for Wildlife sites.
A very important area of activity is in education and during 2010/11 our Education Officer has worked with 8 schools, 2 nursery schools and several Brownie & Guide groups, delivering 28 sessions in school grounds and on nature reserves. In addition 6 schools received detailed advice on improving their school grounds.
At a local level the South Notts Local Group has been busy attending summer fêtes and organising a year round programme of walks and talks. As well as running a web site, newsletter and generally promoting wildlife.
Hopefully this gives a feel for the range of activities the Trust undertakes in Rushcliffe on a shoe string budget (by no means all funded by the SLA). Truly an example of the ‘Big Society’ at work before the slogan was even coined!