Mike and Julie Clare open the nature reserve
At our Summer Soiree last September, Mike Clare, Founder of The Clare Foundation, and his wife Julie unveiled a plaque to open the new nature reserve at Lindengate, the mental health charity, near Wendover. The Clare Foundation is delighted to provide two phases of grant funding to support this project, which supports young people.
In the first six months there have been many successes, not only in developing the habitats and learning opportunities within the nature reserve, but also in growing the numbers of young people who have taken ownership of the area and are regularly involved. The benefits to both the young people and the natural environment have been clear to see.
Every Saturday morning around 15 (out of a pool of over 25) under 18’s, supported by expert staff and a minimum of 3 under 25 lead volunteers, work enthusiastically in all weathers. Each session ends with a firepit and cooking to provide everyone with lunch, often foraged from the site. Young people from local secondary schools have also contributed as part of the supported 6 week programmes designed to encourage healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle, personal and social responsibility and training in green vocations and work skills.
So what skills have been passed on?
- Dead Hedging
- Correct planting and short-term care of young trees, native hedging and wild flowers
- Habitats and behaviours of native reptiles
- Willow weaving, fedging, living sculptures and general care and harvesting of a sustainable supply of willow on site
- Fire lighting and bushcraft skills
- Woodworking skills
- Sympathetic management of a natural environment the Lindengate way
- Creating a native seasonal wildlife pond from scratch
- Correct use of a wide variety of tools
- Wildlife identification and surveys
Here is what members of the group had to say:
Made lots of new friends and allowed me to learn about things in nature that I wouldn’t have learned about otherwise.
It has a great sense of community and lots of friendly people who know stuff.
The people are incredible and it wouldn’t be the same without any single one of us!
Through the provision of nature based activities Lindengate empowers everyone to nurture their wellbeing, connect to the healing power of nature and respect the environment. The nature reserve is a wonderful example of this and The Clare Foundation looks forward to supporting the second phase of the project. You can find out more about Lindengate and the programmes they run here: https://www.lindengate.org.uk