Date of release: 13/1/2016
A community project set up to form two “Friends of” groups for wildlife spaces managed by Thames21, has received a £18,000 grant from Heathrow Community Fund.
The scheme will allow Thames21 to train volunteers in conservation and to formally create “Friends of” groups for the River Pinn and the Fray’s River, in the Yiewsley, West Drayton, Cowley, Uxbridge and Ickenham areas of the London Borough of Hillingdon.
Through Thames21’s accredited training programme, volunteers will learn the skills to look after these rivers and their surrounding habitats, to the benefit of both wildlife and the local community.
The project has the support of the London Borough of Hillingdon and other partners will include students of the University of Brunel, Institute for Environment and local voluntary community groups.
Paul Busby, Thames21’s Fray’s River and River Pinn Project Officer, said: “The people local to these rivers really care about them and understand that they can be improved by tackling pollution problems and managing access to make it feel a more pleasant, safe and natural area.
“We know from consultations that there has been a lot of interest and enthusiasm expressed by local residents for improvement work to take place. We are very grateful for this grant from the Heathrow Community Fund, because forming ‘Friends of’ groups will allow us to harness the enthusiasm of the volunteers who are already active in the area.
“We want to give them the skills to protect and speak for the River Pinn and Fray’s River, while working together as independent and constituted groups. Our legacy will be to enable these groups to look after the waterways themselves.”
Paul will be supported in his work by the Thames21 training programme, which includes courses entitled Leading a Waterway Clean Up and Vegetation Management. “Friends of” groups will be provided with equipment such as waders, insurance, guidance and activities.
Volunteers will learn new environmental skills, including identifying and safely removing invasive plant species such as Himalayan balsam. This will encourage a sense of community and healthier outdoor lifestyles. The Friends Groups will deliver regular environmental enhancement activities, and improve people’s understanding of the local environment. Activities will include improving access to paths, monitoring river water quality including, river-fly monitoring and cleaning up the litter that is in and around the river; this will all help to improve the natural environment and keep areas open and enjoyable for people.
Details of upcoming courses can be found on the events pages.
Thames21 was awarded the donation under Heathrow Community Fund’s Communities for Tomorrow grants programme.
Dr Beccy Bowden, Director of Heathrow Community Fund said: “We are delighted to support this project. The Fund’s Communities for Tomorrow programme is designed to support sustainable projects to improve community green spaces and increase awareness of the environment and this project is a great example of how, by harnessing the power of local volunteers, both aims can be achieved.”
Heathrow Community Fund is part of an independent grant-making charity set up by Heathrow’s owners to support and strengthen local communities close to the airport. In the past two years it has donated more than £1 million through three grant programmes, funding projects which support young people, help protect the environment and support active local communities.
Funds come from an annual donation from the airport, donations from other companies at the airport such as John Lewis, fundraising from Heathrow employees and fines imposed on aircraft that breach noise limits.
Notes for editors
Thames21 is an environmental charity putting healthy rivers back at the heart of community life. Through environmental improvements, education, research and advocacy efforts, Thames21 is inspiring and influencing effective and lasting change by working hand-in-hand with communities to deliver tangible and measurable improvements for urban rivers.
More information about the Heathrow Community Fund and how to apply for grants is available on the website.
www.thames21.org.uk | Registered Charity No. 1103997
Communications Officer at Thames21
07739 627 667
020 7248 7171