Volunteers wanted to help improve Oxford’s green and blue spaces

Published: Wednesday, 25th May 2016

Oxford City Council is searching for more volunteers to help maintain and improve Oxford’s green and blue spaces (rivers, canals, lakes and other water areas).

The City Council is part of the Green & Blue Space Network, which was set up in 2013 and includes councils, universities, wild trusts and NGOs (please see full list below). One of its priorities is to improve access to the City’s green spaces while protecting and enhancing them.

Now the City Council is looking for volunteers to attend regular working groups or to help out. Partners also need volunteers who can improve habitats, restore boundaries and water frontages, carry out species and visitor surveys and support the organisations in many other ways.

Councillor Linda Smith, Oxford City Council Executive Board Member for Leisure, Parks and Sports said: "We teamed up with other key stakeholders to improve public open spaces and increase access to it for residents. A lot has been achieved already, but so much more could be done if more local people volunteered their time. Volunteering in this way makes a practical contribution to improving our local environment for the benefit of the whole community at the same time as being a fantastic way to enjoy some of the very special natural environments within our city."

Ian Brookes Oxford City Council’s Head of Community Services added: “We find the network an excellent way to work with our partners to improve the city’s green spaces. At present we are working on how we can improve access, quality and better promote some of the city’s less well known green spaces.”

Every Thursday, Oxford Countryside Rangers, consisting of between 8-12 volunteers and Oxford City Councils Countryside Volunteer Coordinator visit sites across the city and undertake land management tasks across Oxford City Council sites. In return, volunteers gain practical conservation experience, meet new people, get fit and spend time in the great outdoors.  All levels of experience are welcome. Tasks are very varied with something for everyone to get involved with. All training and safety equipment is provided along with refreshments.

Neil Clennell Head of Conservation and Education (Oxfordshire) at Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) said: “This is an excellent initiative that brings together organisations with a professional or social interest in the green and open spaces in and around the city. The network allows partners to identify areas of common ground and facilitates collaboration to improve the quality and value of Oxford’s green and blue infrastructure for both people and nature”.

The Green & Blue Spaces Network has seen the development of working groups focussing on improving the rare fenland across Rivermead Nature Park in Rose Hill, Lye Valley in Headington and Chilswell Valley near South Hinksey.

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