What does it take to be a volunteer? Dedication, commitment and enthusiasm?
Yes all of these and more but the big thing is to actually care about what goes on in your community. How you feel about the local environment ... it’s protection and the wildlife within it.
All of the above factors describe our local super heroes who belong to many different volunteer groups who support and maintain the council’s green spaces
To thank them for this sterling work Horsham District Council and Horsham In Bloom hold an annual barbecue at Chesworth Farm.
This year’s took place in the lovely open spaced area of the barn on Friday, September 18. It was a great evening and as one participant commented ‘Evan’s deputies did an excellent job with the cooking’.
It was also noted that ‘there were more volunteers than usual’. A vote of thanks was graciously given by Councillor Jonathon Chowan who thanked each and every group for all that they do. A few ‘other members’ also attended and chatted to the groups about the good work. We thank to them for being there.
In the last year over 350 different volunteers have put in over 16,000 hours of work to improve sites. Places which are regularly visited by local residents and much appreciated.
Friends of Warnham Nature Reserve is a very strong group which runs many events for children and families such as the Easter Egg trail and Creeply Crawley Day. Also wildflower and mushroom walks and the very aptly named ‘Batty Night Out’. Their work has been supported by the Green Gym who have worked very hard on the big path resurfacing project.
The Green Gym has also worked on the Llama lookout at Chesworth Farm, a reptile refuge at Owlbeech and the removal of blackthorn at the Motte and Bailey in North Horsham. The Green Gym is so busy now that it runs two sessions a week and in the past year they have worked on 14 different parks and countryside sites.
The Friends of Chesworth Farm has been extremely active in supporting the management of the farm and in accessing funds for improvement works.
If you are a keen dog walker you will discover there is a purpose built dog swimming area! There is also a fabulous board walk which allows visitors to view the restored flood meadow habitat and to see a small but delightful water feature.
The purpose of the volunteers evening is to bring all of the groups together to chat, celebrate and to shown an appreciation of all they have achieved. Other groups who were invited were as follows.
Earles Meadow Residents Association who look after 13 areas of woodland and meadows. They recently held a lovely scarecrow competition. They have improved access to the woodland.
‘Wooden walkways enable us to enjoy the public space in all seasons’
Alder Copse Volunteers look after an area of woodland off Granary Way where it is kept clear of litter and made safe for people to visit.
Horsham Town Community Partnership has been tireless in their pursuit of improving the enormously popular Riverside Walk. In July many local people enjoyed a glorious day of walking the route or parts of it in partnership with the Horsham District Council Health Walks.
Human Nature Garden Volunteers have been maintaining the garden in Horsham Park since it opened which has established beds on themes connected to herbs, medicines, sports and food. Plus the very successful central area of annual beds on specific foods which are beneficial to health.
Hills Farm Conservation Group have been keeping their stretch of the River Arun clear and tidy and keeping notes on the wildlife seen. They have also been planting fruit trees and managing the wildflower verge of the Riverside Walk.
Tritar which stands for Tanbridge Residents Improve the Arun and they have been doing exactly that to keeps the banks clean and clear. They also look after a stretch of the Riverside Walk.
North Street Borders Volunteer Group have been responsible for maintaining the newly planted beds outside Park House. This is a stunning area which welcomes visitors to Horsham as they travel into town.
You will have noticed that many of these groups look after rivers and the surrounding environment. This is commendable as the one thing which may upset anyone passing by is a polluted or neglected river. Their care and attention ensures that visitors enjoy seeing a place at its best.
Boldings Brook Conservation Group has such an aim in mind as it looks after its stretch of river keeping it ‘clear and rubbish free, and also encouraging wildlife to return’.
There are many other groups who may not have been mentioned. Most groups are listed on the Horsham District Council website so please refer to that if you would like to become a volunteer or for further details. We thank them all!