Kickstarters create better home for Telford Town Park wildlife species
Green-fingered kickstarters completed a two day conservation project to create a better home for under pressure wildlife species.
Two groups on Telford & Wrekin Council’s Kickstart programme cleared invasive shrubs and sapling growth which was dominating the protected heathland around Telford Town Park's pit mound.
The area of heathland is a vital habitat for pollinating insects and other species as well as home to some very important plants including one species that only grows in two areas of Shropshire.
The six-month national Kickstart programme provides funding to create new jobs for 16-24 year olds who are on universal credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
Over the two days they were able to get stuck into different outdoor tasks away from their day-to-day roles which include IT support, administration, customer service and project management.
In October, Telford & Wrekin Council announced an investment of £2m into enhancing the borough’s precious green and open spaces.
The investment is designed to make the borough cleaner, greener, safer and more enjoyable for all residents and visitors.
It focuses on designating more Local Nature Reserves and Green Guarantee sites, supporting and mobilising ‘friends’ groups, improving access to green spaces, making sites more welcoming, and enhancing wildlife and recreational value.
Councillor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet member for Climate Change, Green Spaces, Natural and Historic Environment, said: “We are committed to protecting the local environment and the green spaces around us are so important.
“Telford Town Park is a habitat for insects, other species and plants and it’s crucial that their home is protected and maintained. It’s also a designated country park and local nature reserve.
“It’s fantastic to see young people on the Kickstart programme working so hard to improve the environment for local wildlife and plants and making the green spaces on our doorstep even more attractive places to visit.”
Protecting unique species is invaluable and almost 85% of UK heathland has been lost since the late 1800s along with many of the birds, insects and wildlife that thrive in this environment.
From the first 18 young people to come through the Kickstart scheme at Telford & Wrekin Council, 10 went on to full time employment (7 in similar positions to their Kickstart role), two have moved into an apprenticeship and one is in part-time employment.
Councillor Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “Engaging young people in this work is not only educational but also fantastic experience for them in the wider community.
“Young people were able to take part in something very different to their day-to-day roles which could lead to them gaining an interest in conservation volunteering and adds another string to their bow through the Kickstart programme.”
Find out more about parks and green spaces in Telford and Wrekin here.