What sort of projects you are delivering at the moment in the south west?
TCV is currently delivering a number of traditional ‘midweek’ projects across the region engaging volunteers in the delivery of high quality land management tasks. Teams in Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Cornwall deliver these activities throughout the year, and every day of the week, despite the ‘midweek’ misnomer.
TCV also delivers a health trainer programme in Cornwall working with individuals and groups to overcome a range of health and social isolation issues that they are affected by. Measures include one to one support, a variety of interactive workshops and engaging beneficiaries with Cornwall’s wealth of greenspace, with the accompanying benefits so familiar to us all.
TCV also runs a Green Gym at Cirencester Hospital, and is delivering a community based public health programme in Cheltenham; working with local communities to identify their public health priorirites and devise interventions to tackle those priorities.
We also have two sites; Tuckingmill Valley Park in Camborne, and the Tree Life Centre, Kinsgwood, Bristol from where we run a small tree nursery, educational programmes, projects to deliver benefit to local users and a corporate engagement programme.
What sort of environments are the projects in?
We are delighted to work in a wide variety of environments, both urban and rural, to deliver all our work; hedgelaying on the Canal & River Trust estate, maintaining the SW Coast Path, building boardwalks at Chew Valley Lake, tree planting in schools, hay meadow management, pond creation and management. The list is vast, and of course our volunteers and beneficiaries are all the better off for it!
Are there partner organisations involved?
TCV works with a wide variety of partners and funders. People’s Health Trust funds and supports our Cheltenham programme and local authorities across the region are key partners in terms of managing their ‘estate’ but also in the commissioning of public health interventions. We have a long history of working with the National Trust, Canal & River Trust, schools, Western Power Distribution, and engaging partners in collaborative projects is going to be key to improving TCV’s reach to communities and individuals in need.
How do you attract volunteers to these projects?
Volunteers (rather than beneficiaries – let the debate on the difference between the two begin) tend to be self referring and come to TCV through a range of ways. Very often it is good, old fashioned word of mouth, but we also attract volunteers through our Twitter and Facebook networks, as well as our website. We endeavour to advertise events to local communities and will regularly have local residents and groups join us on tasks.
TCV also has a very active corporate engagement programme and we work with ‘volunteers’ from a number of corporate organisations that are looking for a team building activity and to make a difference to their local area.
What training and support are you able to offer?
Due to central government funding changes, TCV no longer offers vocational qualifications in horticulture and environmental conservation, but what we do have are officers have been trained in delivering learning activities to volunteers, learners and beneficiaries. TCV provides a range of practical activities that benefit those wishing to up skill and gain practical experience, and for the more committed volunteer we run a Volunteer Officer programme, providing formal qualifications in first aid, leadership, minibus driving and chainsaw/brushcutters as well as the more informal practical experience gained and skills developed.
Is there funding for developing projects in parks?
We’d love to be able to tell you that TCV has a funding pot for development of parks! Maybe one day – but what we do have is a network of over 2,000 community groups nationwide. These people are enthusiastic and motivated individuals who are able to attract funding that TCV and others can’t (e.g. Awards for All), but they and the volunteers TCV supports are a ready made match funding ‘pot’. TCV does therefore have a form of funding available for developing projects in parks and we are also looking out for opportunities and partnerships to do just that.
To find out more about TCV click here