Could you be a volunteer nature buddy?

Release Date: 27 June 2017

Nature lovers in the borough are invited to sign-up to a community project that aims to help connect residents with nature on their door-step.

As part of the ‘Friendly Parks for All’ programme, the Council is working with local organisation ‘Let’s Go Outside and Learn CIC’ to deliver a project called “Fresh air and Friendship” which aims to encourage everyone, to enjoy local parks.

‘Friendly Parks For All’, funded by the Parks Improvement Programme, includes investment in park infrastructure and facilities that ensure open spaces are accessible to all. The project also includes a schedule of community activities which includes learning events for children, families and those with limited access to parks.

A new Nature Buddy Scheme, will recruit volunteers who will work to introduce local people to their parks and open spaces.

Over the next few months ‘Let’s Go Outside and Learn CIC’ has joined forces with local charity, EMAG (Ethnic Minority Advocacy Group) based in Whitton who work to eliminate disadvantage experienced by people from minority backgrounds. Together they will recruit local people to become Volunteer Nature Buddies.

The nature loving volunteers will provide regular support to activities, will help to inspire local people to make more use of their parks, show them the benefits of improved health and wellbeing that spending time outdoors can offer, and bring people together so that they can make new friends.

The project will initially be based in Whitton at Murray Park.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

“Richmond upon Thames has a huge number of parks and open spaces. All of them are very different and have something unique to offer our residents and visitors.

“Our parks can be used to relax in, work in, exercise in. And, we have invested millions of pounds to improve the high standard of our parks. Through programmes such as ‘Friendly Parks For All’, we hope that even more people will be able to benefit.

“In this volunteer scheme, we are not only celebrating the wonderful environment we are each surrounded by, but also helping residents in our community who for one reason or another find it difficult get out and about.”

Ravi Arora, Director of EMAG, commented:

“The project with Let’s Go Outside and Learn aims to provide the opportunity for local communities to engage with their local parks by taking part in activities that they have said that they would enjoy. The project will build an awareness of parks and the Nature Buddy scheme will work to support the use of parks by groups who may not currently do so.”

If you are interested in becoming a Nature Buddy, visit the Let's Go Outside and Learn website.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P295/17

Updated: 30 June 2017