Recently our team volunteered to be a part of the local Green Spaces scheme with Nottingham County Council, helping to plant trees, prune vegetation and maintain the green spaces in our local Bestwood Country Park. All in an effort to conserve biodiversity in our local area, connect our team to a nature based challenge and raise awareness of the scheme.
What does NCC Green Spaces scheme involve?
A Nottingham-based initiative that adopts the practice of Green Social Prescribing. This growing movement was sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting the importance of being outdoors, particularly during lockdown. More and more evidence suggests that being outdoors and connected to nature can help us lower levels of stress, fatigue, anxiety, and overall improvement of mental health.Groups of local people and businesses who are passionate about maintaining and improving green spaces in their area get together. Helping with conservation tasks, organising events and walks, and acting as a liaison between the County Council and wider community. Fortunately Shredall SDS Group recently got to experience this, and discover the powerful effect that Green Social Prescribing can have.
How we helped with biodiversity and conservation
A large group of volunteers from Shredall SDS Group would meet at Bestwood Country Park on the Linby Trail, just five minutes from our Nottingham head office. We helped to deliver a range of practical conservation tasks on the Green Spaces site, such as planting trees, litter picking, pruning vegetation and maintaining pathways.
The team were able to spend this volunteer time getting stuck into the challenge, being instructed by our Green Spaces task leader on how to safely carry out the conservation tasks. All in all the team found getting to connect with nature to be an especially positive experience, helping them further understand the importance of green initiatives in the local community.
How our work helped the local area
Our task leader and community liaison officer for the project from Nottinghamshire County Council, Sue McDonald, was incredibly thankful for our team's efforts and attitude towards the project. Here’s what she had to say:
“Everyone from Shredall SDS Group was lovely and both teams were great and really got stuck in. I think, because it was such a change from their day-to-day work, the teams enjoyed the challenge of something completely different that they may not have experienced before. My small group of regular volunteers who were helping also commented how nice folks were and how much they had enjoyed working with them.”
Sue also had the opportunity to explain to us why NCC work on the Linby Trail is such an important part of preserving Nottinghamshire’s biodiverse green spaces:
“The reason the work on the Linby Trail is so important is because of the type of soil found there and the grassland it creates. Most grassland in Nottinghamshire is acid grassland - what makes the Linby trail special is the limestone ridge that runs along it. This creates calcareous grassland - more associated with chalky grasslands of southern counties - much rarer in Nottinghamshire and home to an array of plants and animals associated with this type of habitat. If we didn’t carry out the work the area would deteriorate, be overrun and shaded out by trees and woody shrubs and we would lose the biodiversity of it. However, management of it is very hands-on which is why the help we receive from groups like yours is so important to help us maintain it.”
It’s amazing to get an even deeper understanding of the biodiverse wildlife and habitats that are just on Shredall SDS Group’s doorstep, and to see the positive effect that green social prescribing can have.
Get involved in your local community
At Shredall SDS Group, volunteering for initiatives such as NCC Green Spaces is just one of the ways we like to contribute to our local community, and to our environmental commitment. If you’re looking for ideas to improve your own mental health and wellbeing, volunteering is a fantastic way to get involved.