Cheshire Wildlife Trust given £143,000 to help local volunteers make a real difference in their community

Cheshire Wildlife Trust has been given £143,000 National Lottery funding from Sport England to help local volunteers make a positive contribution to their community using sport and activity.

The project, Go Wild – Get Fit, will improve physical activity levels of more than 200 people currently furthest away from the job market and living in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich and Winsford. Volunteers will have opportunity to take part in a range of nature-based activities during the programme including, practical conservation, wildlife surveying and monitoring and nature walks. The programme also offers opportunities for training in wildlife skills and broader life skills.

Go Wild – Get Fit is funded through Sport England’s ‘Opportunity Fund’, which aims to encourage people to volunteer to help tackle challenges their communities face. Projects are being funded in areas that may experience economic disadvantage, ranging from inner-city areas with high levels of crime and social exclusion, to remote rural areas with few services. Through getting involved, the volunteers will also benefit by developing their own skills and confidence, and experience improved wellbeing. These new projects aim to explore how the outdoors and the environment may motivate people to get involved in volunteering, and how volunteering we can help create new opportunities for people to get active.

 “We are grateful to the players of the National Lottery who have enabled this project to go ahead” said Martin Varley, Director of Conservation at Cheshire Wildlife Trust. “Wild places are great spaces to get people active. Thanks to this funding many people who need support the most will have a chance to benefit from getting out into nature and give some back through volunteering.”

Cheshire Wildlife Trust promotes wildlife and wild places across Cheshire. Increasingly the contribution of wildlife and the outdoors to people’s health is being recognised and so the Trust has run a successful health and wellbeing programme, helping people to feel better through nature for the last two years.

“When people volunteer in sport and physical activity there is a dual benefit – volunteers help others in their communities get active, as well as benefitting themselves” said Phil Smith, Sport England’s Director of Sport. “Volunteering can do wonders for job and career prospects, mental health and making friends.  it’s why volunteering sits at the heart of Sport England’s new strategy, towards an active nation. We’re delighted to be helping Cheshire Wildlife Trust enable more volunteers to be the catalysts for change in their neighbourhood.

“It’s one of 37 projects in which Sport England has invested in to test different approaches to encourage new audiences to volunteer and benefit their community and others through social action, sport and physical activity. These projects will test various different approaches, with the ultimate aim being a larger number and more diverse volunteers. We are targeting people who are currently less likely to volunteer in sport, such as women, disabled people, people from BAME groups and people on a low income.”