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Local volunteers make huge contribution to wildlife and cleaning up Barnsley

Monday 8th May 2017

Carlton Marsh, Barnsley (Credit Peter Wigglesworth) Carlton Marsh, Barnsley (Credit Peter Wigglesworth)

Volunteers from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have made a huge impact on nature reserves, parks and greenspaces across Barnsley this year.

The partnership between Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Barnsley Council celebrated its first successful year at the end of March. Over the first year 388 volunteer days were donated by dozens of volunteers. In total, 1458 hours were donated, worth over £16,000 .

The volunteers performed a wide variety of jobs including renovating wildlife ponds, planting trees, protecting heather, cutting back vegetation to allow wildflowers to bloom, surveying for plants, birds and wildlife and cleaning up the river Dearne.

One of the biggest tasks for the group has been removing a large amount of litter that has accumulated on some of the sites over the years. In total, over 500 large bin bags of rubbish were removed, and plenty of items that wouldn’t fit in a bag were also collected, including shopping trolleys, beds, wardrobes, televisions, wheels, tyres and carpets.

Pete Wall, Dearne Valley Living Landscape Manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said: “Now that spring is here the sites all look a lot better for the work that has been done. The volunteers enjoy meeting up every week with other people who care about wildlife and the places where they live. Volunteering is great for getting work experience and socialising and being out and active has many health benefits too.”

The sites managed across Barnsley include Dearne Valley Country Park, Carlton Marsh, Barnsley Canal at Wilthorpe ,Smithies Marsh and Wharncliffe Woodmoor

Sophie Pinder, Assistant Reserves Manager at the Trust said: “Our local volunteers have been great! We have a regular volunteer day every Friday and we always welcome newcomers with open arms. We are now able to offer volunteering events at weekends once a month too.”

Wendy Lowder, Executive Director for Communities at Barnsley Council, said: “We’re proud of our volunteers in Barnsley and are thrilled that our partnership with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is going from strength to strength. Along with creating benefits for wildlife, volunteering with the trust is a great opportunity to help make the sites places people can continue to enjoy.”

In the first year of the Partnership, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have also brought in over £360,000 that will be spent on working in the Barnsley area over the next few years from sources including Natural England, the Environment Agency, Veolia, Yorkshire Water.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work across Barnsley or would like to volunteer, please contact Pete Wall on 07899 676597 or email pete.wall@ywt.org.uk