In Impact Stories, Physical & mental health, wellbeing & safety

Project: To enhance two gardens for the benefit and well-being of visitors whilst also improving the habitat for butterflies and pollinators

Grant: £2,500

Fund: General Fund

Chiltern Rangers is an organisation working in Bucks and the wider Chilterns, providing practical habitat management through conservation, education and community engagement. They manage thirteen nature reserves for Bucks council in the Wycombe area, as well as help a range of conservation and local authority partners with habitat management.

The funding from this grant enabled Chiltern Rangers to work with two local organisations to develop wildlife gardens. Children, young people and adult volunteers were involved in the project which enabled them to learn new skills and gain a sense of fulfilment. Many of the volunteers were from disadvantaged backgrounds, and this project offered them a unique opportunity to broaden their experiences.

The first organisation supported was the Bucks Goat Centre, which is a family-friendly farm offering affordable experiences to young families in Aylesbury.

The Heart of Bucks funding allowed Chiltern Rangers to transform Justin’s Butterfly Garden at the Goat Centre over two days into a blooming sanctuary for both visitors and wildlife. Volunteers and staff worked tirelessly creating artwork, renovating planters, creating wildlife habitats and play areas over the two days.

Chiltern Rangers also worked with the Sue Nicholls Centre, a day hospital supporting children and young people who are suffering from mental health issues and their families. Their garden is a key component of this; it provides a haven for the children, young people and families visiting the hospital. Many of their service users explained that the garden reduces their anxiety in addition to providing their families with a relief space whilst they attend their appointments. Hospital staff also benefit from being able to visit the garden in their breaks to unwind. The project allowed many of the children to meet for the first time under Covid-safe conditions, which was hugely beneficial for all involved.

Chilterns Rangers not only provided the initial support to develop the gardens, but they also briefed both organisations on how to tend and nurture their gardens on their own going forward.

Overall, 22 young people and 11 adults helped contribute over 94 hours of volunteering to help make this project possible. Incredibly, this funding will benefit over 30,000 people and will continue to do so for many years to come.