To coincide with World Environment Day, we are focusing on all the environmental volunteering that takes place every day. This year the UK is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow – it is a crucial time to recognise the impact of volunteering on environmental and conservation initiatives and to call for urgent action to protect our shared planet!
On World Environment Day we are – rightly so – thankful for the many beautiful nature spots Wales has to offer. But also, those volunteers who are working hard to create their own spaces in nature in urban and built-up areas of Cardiff City.
In the build-up to Volunteers Week and Wales Nature week Emma and Keisha visited SRCDC and Grow Cardiff plant giveaway to speak with volunteers and community members about their experiences and recognise the effort they are contributing to improving local communities in Riverside. It was windy and unpredictable weather on the day but still buzzing with activity in the community which is a testament to the success of these projects!
Louise Gray told us why she thinks it is important to include local communities in planning decisions about the environment:
“These are the people most invested in their immediate environment. They are the people who will make or break a project. Only with local support can the project survive the ending of funding and be anything more. Activities to enhance the local community must be led by local people not just consulted, their ideas need to lead the process. The Growing Together project is an example of what can be achieved if, not just the ideas come from the community but also how projects are delivered. At a steering group meeting, key volunteers gave us feedback about wanting greater support to lead themselves the activities rather than just their knowledge informing what was delivered. SRCDC are now working with the Bevan Foundation to employ key community activists as researchers and Growing Together is providing hands-on mentoring local leadership.”