Yeovil Country Park volunteers awarded runners-up in BBC Radio Somerset’s Make a Difference Award
This year, BBC Radio Somerset wants to celebrate and say thank you to people living in our villages, towns and cities who make where we live a better place and recognise them for all their hard work.
Our team of volunteers at Yeovil Country Park have been awarded a trophy for runners-up in BBC Radio Somerset’s Make a Difference Awards in the Environment category.
We are very lucky to have a fantastic team of volunteers at Yeovil Country Park. Several of our team have volunteered weekly for over 14 years now, with many having been volunteering at the park for nearly 10 years!
The volunteers consist of two groups: with one group working on a Monday afternoon carrying out lighter duties in the country park such as path clearance, litter picking and weeding and another on Thursdays, carrying out the heavier practical habitat management and site maintenance work.
Our Thursday team consists of Alan, Terry, Clive, Tony, Nic, Anne, James, Viv, Vernon, Roger, Doug, Roy and Denise. On Mondays, Bruce, Tabitha, Eden, Graham, Liam, Nick, James and Peter volunteer their help.
Registered charity, Friends of Yeovil Country Park, also work alongside the rangers, supporting popular events such as the Halloween and Spring Trails.
Yeovil Country Park (YCP) is tucked away in Yeovil town and takes you on a journey around woodlands and waterfalls, following the River Yeo to meadow pastures and far-reaching views to the wider countryside.
Essential work is needed to keep this green space a safe haven for the community, nature and wildlife. With only two rangers to manage 157 acres of the country park, it really would not be possible to keep this greenspace up to the Green Flag award winning standards. The volunteers help to ensure that the site is clean, safe and accessible for our visitors. They make sure that invasive species are controlled and pro-active habitat management work is carried out to provide optimum habitat conditions for the over 2500 species recorded at the park. This work ensures the site is rich in biodiversity, allowing people the opportunity to connect with nature and our natural world to be protected and resilient to a changing climate.
The volunteers get a great sense of achievement from the work they carry out and they feel passionately about caring for the county park. They also enjoy the social side of volunteering and have formed strong friendships as a result of coming together as volunteers.
Volunteer, Nic Hill, says, “I’ve been a volunteer at Yeovil Country Park for 12 years and have enjoyed it brilliantly, I particularly enjoy watching the seasons change at Yeovil Country Park.
I have really enjoyed clearing areas across the park as you can see a big difference from when we started. Especially the island in the park, which has provided habitats for ducks to nest and is ready for regrowth. Another project I have enjoyed is clearing the reed bed along riverside walk where there is now a raised walkway.
We are now at the end of bird nesting season and we look forward to doing some serious tidying up of the park.
We are really pleased to be able to support the park and enable enjoyment for many, especially during Covid-19. It’s what it’s all about. Volunteering is something we all look forward to in the week and it’s a big part of our lives. It’s also good for our fitness too!
We are very proud to be shortlisted for this award. So much brilliant work is being done in the voluntary sector and we are very pleased to have been nominated.”
We are very thankful for our nomination and the recognition for the hard work of our volunteers.
Matt Arnold, Countryside Ranger at Yeovil Country Park, said “Well done to everyone who was nominated and those who made it to become finalists. We are very proud of all that our volunteers have achieved at YCP and that they have been recognised for all of their hard work and dedication. We hope this encourages others to volunteer for some great causes.”
SSDC Environment Portfolio Holder, Cllr Sarah Dyke, added “The team at YCP work tirelessly to ensure the environment is at the forefront of all projects and carry out projects to increase biodiversity and protect our green spaces and wildlife. This is part of South Somerset District Council’s Environment Strategy and pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030.”