Volunteers at the Gosforth Nature Reserve have worked tirelessly to construct a new Welcome Hut thanks to a grant from Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland’s Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF). The new building will provide much-needed shelter, ensuring volunteers have a warm, dry place from which to welcome visitors to the reserve.
Sandra King, Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Community Foundation explained the importance of the outdoors:
“During lockdown we know that accessing nature and local green spaces, as well as volunteering, have had a really positive benefit on people’s emotional health and wellbeing. This LEAF grant has not only clearly helped with this, but will be of benefit to volunteers for years to come, as they look after this hugely important nature reserve, providing city dwellers with access to nature on their doorstep.”
Clare Freeman, Director of Natural History Society of Northumbria who manage the reserve, described the impact on the volunteers:
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of Gosforth Nature Reserve, protecting wildlife and ensuring visitors receive a first-class welcome and are able to enjoy this wonderful reserve to its fullest. Thanks to the generous support of the Community Foundation, volunteers will now be fully supported in their work to inspire wonder at the reserve”.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and when regulations have allowed, the Volunteer Rangers have worked around the clock to ensure visitors receive a friendly welcome at the Reserve, sharing sightings, answering questions and supporting visitors.
Catherine Montgomery, a Volunteer Ranger said:
‘Volunteering at Gosforth Nature Reserve throughout the summer has been a wonderful experience and it has been inspiring to welcome so many visitors passionate about the reserve and it’s wildlife’.
She explained why the new hut mattered:
‘Working at the reserve throughout the winter months would have been an uncomfortable experience without shelter. Now, Volunteer Rangers will be able to offer a friendly welcome to visitors regardless of the wild North East weather’.
Andrew Davison, OBE, Chair of the panel that made the award said:
‘It is wonderful to see the endowment the partners contributed to making great grants like this now and into the future. The Natural History Society of Northumbria’s grant exemplifies the type of project we want to support. The Welcome Hut will provide a valuable space for volunteers throughout the year’.
Unfortunately, due to the new Covid restrictions the Reserve is currently closed, but they look forward to welcoming back visitors in future.
For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply