The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), the Probation Service and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have developed a new partnership to deliver a Community Payback project focused on practical conservation.
As part of a pilot people on probation join us at tree planting events, allowing them to be involved in environmental projects that have a meaningful outcome.
During February –the height of the tree planting season – people involved in the project planted 4,120 trees at a Nottinghamshire Healthcare site, and were joined by representatives from all partners, including Amy Rees, Director General of Probation, Wales and Youth in Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service.
Over the next few years, the partnership will nurture the new trees, which include majestic oaks, cherries and crab apples, ensuring the development of a healthy and diverse native habitat bursting with nectar, fruits and nuts for wildlife – and people – to enjoy.
As well as adding to the biodiversity and carbon sequestration of the Nottinghamshire Healthcare site over time, their efforts provide the Trust with an improved green space, which can support good mental and physical health.
These health benefits are also an aim for the pilot: to support the wellbeing of those on the Community Payback scheme, as well as provide them with experience in practical conservation activities and the opportunity to explore a career in the field.
Brit, who has been involved in planting the trees for the past two weeks, said: “It has been a positive experience – as well as being outside amongst nature, it has been nice meeting and getting to know people. This has had a good impact on my mental health”.
Joe Coles, TCV Tree Programme Manager, said: “Our aim is to improve the environment and provide new habitat for wildlife, but it is also our mission to bring people along with us, and to inspire them to engage in conservation now, and in the future. We hope to instil participants with a real sense of achievement from every project that TCV undertakes. It would be a fantastic outcome if those on the scheme came back to volunteer with TCV when this project ends, and even consider the opportunities that meaningful outdoor work can provide with a little experience under their belts.”
Dr John Brewin, Chief Executive at Nottinghamshire Healthcare, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership on this fantastic tree planting project. This will have a beneficial impact on the local environment, wildlife and community and we look forward to seeing the woodland thrive over the coming years. We’re passionate about the environment and committed to sustainability at the Trust, and this initiative is one of the ways we are achieving the ambitions set out in our Green Plan.”
Mark Challinor, Community Payback coordinator at the East of England Probation Service, said:
“It’s precisely what Unpaid Work should be delivering: offenders are paying back with their time and effort and their work will dramatically increase the area’s biodiversity.
“They are also learning new skills which supports their rehabilitation.”