Volunteers Sought to Support Local Woodland Project

The Conservation Volunteers

VOLUNTEERS are being sought to help improve local woodlands, as part of a three and a half year conservation project launching in the New Year.

Three of Reading’s wildlife havens will benefit from the conservation work run by The Conservation Volunteers’ Woodland Improvement Team (WIT). The conservation work, which will start in January 2020, will focus on three key Reading locations managed by Reading Council: Blundell’s Copse in Tilehurst, Bugs Bottom in Caversham and Clayfield Copse & Blackhouse Woods in Emmer Green, as well as also covering two woodland sites in the Wokingham borough; Highwood and Aldermoors, which are both situated in Woodley. The group plans to meet every Tuesday, between 10 am and 3 pm at one of these locations. The conservation work will include tree planting, coppicing, clearing encroaching bramble, controlling bracken and removing invasive plant species such as rhododendron and snowberry, in order to improve the habitat value of existing wildlife corridors. People are invited to a launch event organised by the WIT on Tuesday 7th January 11:00-13:30 at Bugs Bottom. The launch event offers a chance to find out more about volunteering opportunities with the group. There will be activities, including some tree and hedge planting, followed by refreshments. The 3.5-year project is funded by Network Rail as part of the No Net Loss Biodiversity on the Great Western Programme – which seeks to compensate for any removal of habitat during railway upgrades. It is also supported by the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE).

Ruth Coxon, TCV Biodiversity Offset Project Officer, said:

“I am really looking forward to connecting communities with their local green spaces and improving these habitats for wildlife. You really can’t put a value on planting a tree and finding it years later, thriving amongst an ecosystem you helped to establish. I invite others to share this sense of ownership by helping us to improve these woodland sites, within our neighbourhoods.”

Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said:

“We are delighted to support this wonderful project which offers great benefits for three of our important nature reserves. We are very keen to support volunteer projects like this in our parks, managed by conservation experts, working cooperatively with us to support biodiversity in the best possible way. We have worked successfully with TCV on a previous project at LousehiIll Copse in west Reading, where they have done a marvellous job of improving access and habitats. “I am also pleased to see Network Rail’s commitment to fund conservation projects such as this, as a way to minimise biodiversity loss following railway upgrades. “If you are interested in conservation and looking for a volunteering opportunity in the New Year – and a fantastic chance to get out into nature and help protect Reading’s precious wildlife - I’d encourage you to come along to the launch event on Tuesday 7th January at Bugs Bottom to give it a try and find out more about what you can do.”

Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, Wokingham Borough Council, said:

“We’re thrilled to be partnering on this important project. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to increase the biodiversity of our woodlands. We’re encouraging local residents to join us in the active management of our Local Nature Reserves, such as Highwood and Aldermoors.”

Fiona Danks, Director of Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment, said:

"TOE is delighted to be supporting this project which will enhance the biodiversity of several sites while at the same time providing more opportunities for the local communities to engage with nature.”

Emmanuel Deschamps, Environment Manager Network Rail, said:

“The Greater West Programme includes the electrification of the Great Western railway between London and Cardiff, meaning faster, more reliable and more energy-efficient journeys for thousands of passengers and a quieter, cleaner environment for lineside neighbours. As a result of its commitment to minimise biodiversity loss within the railway landscape and leave a long-lasting legacy for nature and communities, it has funded 25 biodiversity projects across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, West of England and South Wales. This represents 120ha of woodland restoration and 60ha of woodland creation as well as elements of ponds restoration, wildflower meadow creation and grassland preservation.” To register your interest as a volunteer or for more information contact Ruth at: ruth.coxon@tcv.org.uk www.tcv.org.uk



Media invite:

The media are invited to attend the launch event for the project on Tuesday 7th January at Bugs bottom, starting at 11am. There will be a photo opportunity at 11.15am.

For further information contact Ruth Coxon – Project Officer (Biodiversity Offsetting)

TCV Press Office: 07740 899 609/ ruth.coxon@tcv.org.uk Follow us: @TCVBerkshire @TCVtweets The Conservation Volunteers (Reading Branch) Reading International Solidarity Society, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS About TCV, the community volunteering charity – www.tcv.org.uk Every day TCV works across the UK to create healthier and happier communities for everyone - communities where our activities have a lasting impact on people’s health, prospects and outdoor places. We do this by bringing people together to create, improve and care for green spaces. From local parks and community gardens to Local Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest; from school grounds and hospital grounds to waterways, wetlands and woodlands; we connect people to the green spaces that form a vital part of any healthy, happy community. Our team of dedicated, passionate staff and volunteers work with communities across England, Northern Ireland and Scotland and, through our Community Network, we support local community groups across the UK. Last year, TCV worked with; · 100,000 people. · 1,600 people with a disability. · 17,000 school children. · 16% were from a BAME community. · 30% of the community groups were in the top 20% most deprived UK areas. · 11,000 registered volunteers committed their time on a regular basis. · 4,500 employees from partner organisations volunteered their time for our cause. TCV also transformed 1,500 green spaces within UK communities, delivering 140,000 volunteer days on 14,000 projects; improving 18 ha of woodland, 5,000 m of waterways, 35 km of paths and planted 190,000 trees.