22 Apr 2013

Vote for Stroud Valleys Project to win a National Trust Award

The voting page started this morning and closes midnight on Sunday 28 April. Stroud Valleys Project is one of only 3 organisations to be selected nationally for the final vote in the National Trust' Octavia Hill Green Space Guardian Award 2013 - to win would give them a well deserved boost - please vote now at: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1355778822804/

Please pass this onto as many folk as you can.....

I nominated Stroud Valleys Project back in January for this award - I had no hesitation in nominating them - they have a fantastic reputation for working with all parts of our community. They inspire and train both adults and children to discover and nurture the wildlife and green spaces on their doorsteps. Their staff and many volunteers are hugely passionate about the projects. We are indeed fortunate to have such a great organisation in the district. I hope everyone locally will vote to show how much we appreciate their work.

Here's more from the press release:

Chief executive of Stroud Valleys Project, Clare Mahdiyone said: “We are thrilled to reach the top three in the Green Space Guardian section of this important National Trust Octavia Hill Award and it would make the award even more special to receive it in 2013 as it is our 25th anniversary this year.”

Stroud Valleys Project was set up in 1988 with the aim of protecting and enhancing the local environment by working together with local people. They have a dedicated team of volunteers who go out around Stroud district looking after green spaces for the benefit of local people and wildlife. Over the 25 years they have worked on a variety of greenspace projects including Trinity Pocket Park; the Lake at the Lawn, Cainscross; Summer Crescent, Stroud; Holywell Orchard, Cam; Hamwell Leazes, Finns Way; Rackleaze Wetland, Cam, the Long Ground, Stroud and Stonehouse newt pond. Some of their current projects are helping set up a community garden in Delmont’s Lot in the centre of Stroud and restoring the garden at the house of poet W H Davies in Nailsworth.

“Together with our volunteers we work to protect and restore special green spaces that have become neglected and bring them back to life so everyone - both wildlife and people – can enjoy them again,” explained Clare.“ We believe that everyone can do their bit to help nature thrive from planting bee and butterfly friendly plants in the garden or looking after neglected urban or rural space. We work closely with farmers and landowners to restore hedgerows or create ponds to help biodiversity in the countryside.”

Voting in the online poll opens on Monday 22 April and people have just one week to support Stroud Valleys Project at the National Trust website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/octaviaawards.

Stroud Valleys Project was chosen from over 130 nominations for these awards, now in their second year, which are being run in partnership with Countryfile Magazine.

Helen Timbrell, Volunteering and Community Involvement Director for the National Trust and one of the award judges, said: "These awards show that the spirit of Octavia Hill is well and truly alive.  I was so impressed by the passion and commitment of the people nominated and it was a really hard decision to come up with the final shortlist.”

Notes to editors - click on read more

1.     The awards are named after Octavia Hill, a Victorian social reformer and a founder of the National Trust who set the standard in campaigning for green places. Octavia died in August 1912 and these awards celebrate the modern-day champions and guardians of our precious pieces of outdoor space. More info at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/octavia

2.     The judging panel comprised Fergus Collins, Editor of Countryfile Magazine, Matt Smith, one of the winners of the 2012 awards, Julia Bradbury, a presenter on BBC Countryfile and a keen walker, Grahame Hindes, Chief Executive of Octavia Housing and Helen Timbrell, Volunteering and Community Involvement Director for the National Trust.

3.     The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony and profiled one of the summer issues of Countryfile Magazine.

4.     There are four categories in the 2013 Octavia Hill Awards:

·        Natural Hero – for an exceptional individual who has devoted their energy and free time to protecting green spaces and inspiring the local community to do the same.
·        Green Space Guardians – this award is for a group or organisation, big or small, that has created a lot of noise (locally or nationally) to champion and promote green spaces and places.
·        The People’s Champion - celebrates a person in the public eye who has worked to inspire people to enjoy and protect the outdoors.
·        ‘Love Places’ award – specifically for National Trust volunteers, individuals or groups, who have enabled local communities to benefit from the open places that are important to them and gone beyond the call of duty.

5. My submission of 150 words for voting page about Stroud Valleys Project:

Stroud Valleys Project (SVP) works with individuals and community groups inspiring and training people to discover and nurture wildlife and green spaces. SVP champions sustainability, working with local organisations to create new green spaces and restore neglected ones.

Last year SVP planted 3,120 hedgerow plants and 958 trees with volunteers giving 1612 days of time. Current projects include;
·        ‘Get Growing’: supporting over 1,500 children in 23 local schools to grow and harvest food.
·        Green Team: volunteers with, for example mental health issues, working to increase biodiversity of green spaces. This led to a women-only food growing and conservation skills group to improve self-esteem.

SVP staff are passionate and knowledgeable and wonderfully empowering to both individuals and groups with whom they work. SVP’s walks, talks and events make the countryside accessible and their new eco shop allows people to drop in, get advice and find opportunities to get involved.

For more information please contact Clare Mahdiyone at Stroud Valleys Project on 01453 753358 or see http://www.stroudvalleysproject.org/

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