Volunteer to make a difference with the Greenfingers Research Project
Volunteers with green fingers and an interest in conservation are needed to take part in a research project at Williamson Park by the University of Cumbria and Lancaster City Council.
Now entering its third year, the Greenfingers Research Project aims to clear and replant areas of the park with native species, whilst at the same time creating new habitats for wildlife.
Volunteers are set to benefit too by improving their physical health through the tasks associated with the project as well as gaining the social and mental health benefits from participation.
All ages and fitness levels are catered for with lighter tasks for the less fit, and more strenuous work for the fitter. Each session will end with a get together in the Pavilion Café for a well earned free cuppa.
The Greenfingers project has been created by the University of Cumbria Sports and Physical Activity undergraduate programme team, in partnership with the Lancaster City Council. Students from the 2nd year of the BA Sport, Physical Activity and Health Development degree assist with the project alongside park officers, and help with research data collection.
A research paper based on the project has already been published in a health journal highlighting the health benefits for those who get involved.
Coun Jon Barry, Cabinet member with responsibility for the voluntary sector, said: “Volunteering opportunities such as this give local people the chance to take pride in their district and make a real difference not only to themselves but the wider community and environment too. If you can spare two hours, one hour, or even just half an hour on a Thursday morning, I would urge local residents to come along and give it a try.
“A good number are already getting stuck in, but a project such as this can always do with more.”
Mark Christie, tutor at the University of Cumbria, added: “It’s also a great opportunity for our students to not only appreciate different approaches to encouraging physical activity and community development work, and link theory to practice, but also to be hands on with the research itself.”
If you're interested in joining 'Greenfingers' this autumn, sessions take place every Thursday from 10am-noon starting on October 11. The project will run until the Christmas holidays and new volunteers can register to take part each week from 9.45am - 10am in the park's Pavilion Cafe. The project is also ideal for those looking for work experience.
For further details, contact the park's Operations Manager, Will Griffith, (01524 33318) or Mark Christie, University of Cumbria (01524 384578).
Date Published: 28/09/12