The CVLLP has now received official confirmation of a grant from the Big Lottery fund of £81k to deliver the 'Skills Builder' project with groups of probationers.
Our grant application described the project as follows:
This project will enable groups of offenders on license to develop work and life skills whilst working on countryside sites. It will run in partnership with a Community Rehabilitation Company called Fit for Work and the Peak District National Park Authority. Groups of offenders will be invited to engage in a range of land management tasks in the Churnet Valley, N. Staffordshire and the adjacent S. Peak District.
Individuals will be picked up and transported away from their familiar locations to areas of wild moorlands, deep cut river valleys and small-scale agriculture. While in this very different environment they will have opportunity to gain work experience and qualifications in transferable employability skills such as Health & Safety in the work place, hand tool usage and working in a team.
Local countryside sites will benefit greatly from work done improving biodiversity and public access by activities such as vegetation clearance and path construction.
Participants on similar projects say: 'I would never have thought of coming to the countryside before for fun but now I bring my family and we enjoy it together'
'We were very pleased when we finished laying the pitch path and could see where we'd been and that it would last a long time'. 'It's the first time I've ever worked in the countryside and it's helped me understand what it does and what it's for'
'I understand now what a Countryside Ranger does and other jobs you can do in the countryside' ‘I never knew the countryside needed so much looking after!' 'It has really helped with my self-confidence, I didn't use to like talking to anyone but I love coming out here and I know I can do the job'
'I like that I've been praised for a job well done, it makes me want to do a good job'
'People walking past stop and tell us how glad they are we're doing the job. I like that!'
'I learn new things every time I come, about why we're doing the job and how it's good for wildlife as well as practical skills'
'I bring my family up here now and show them the work we've done and tell them about all the wildlife that the Rangers have talked to us about' 'It clears my head. I love it.'
Quotes from supervising staff:
'Offenders coming out with us have shown increased motivation not just when out volunteering but when they get back to our base too.'
'Participants quickly become part of 'the team' becoming reliant on each other and are keen not to let the team down'.
'Some participants have completed their probation license for the first time while working with us'.