Volunteer Award honours unsung heroes of community woodlands
A Borders charity that depends on dozens of dedicated volunteers for the upkeep and restoration of our native and community woodlands has won a Volunteer Friendly Award from Volunteer Centre Borders (VCB).
Borders Forest Trust has proved to Assessors at VCB that it manages its volunteers properly, treats them fairly, trains and supports them and celebrates their contributions to the organisation.
“In a project where health and safety are paramount, all risks have been covered and are explained well,” said Susan Swan, VCB’s Executive Officer. “BFT has demonstrated a commitment to volunteers, a great ethos and a determination that everyone involved in its work should be recognised and appreciated.”
BFT was also praised for the value it places on equality and diversity in its volunteer staff.
Volunteer work at BFT can be physically demanding: Community woodland work includes planting trees, digging drainage, removing invasive species, clearing vegetation, maintaining paths and removing tree tubes. And behind these frontline volunteers is an army of hard-working volunteer organisers, committee members and project workers.
Lisa Brydon, BFT Community Woodlands Officer, said, “Volunteers are our life blood. We simply couldn’t survive without them. We have a huge pool of dedicated volunteers who contribute to the work of the Trust. There are on average 10 volunteers working on the community woodlands project each week, five volunteers on the woodland habitat sites, 12 volunteer trustees on the BFT board, plus another 20 who regularly help with various projects throughout the organisation. We must also recognise the valuable time that the 60 community woodland committee members spend annually to manage, maintain and keep the woodlands a safe and enjoyable place for the general public and wildlife to enjoy. These people are the unsung heroes of the community woodlands throughout the Borders.”