Describe your project
We are an energetic group of volunteers who go out twice a week across Shropshire to help communities manage their churchyards and burial grounds. We work in over forty sites and in the past eleven years have completed over thirty thousand hours of conservation work. Last year we were honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary service. With our growing numbers we would really benefit form more equipment and a trailer to safely carry the tools needed for our ever expanding work parties! The tasks we undertake include surveying, dry stone walling, hedge laying, scything, pruning, tidying and managing areas for wildflowers.
How will your project benefit your local community?
Our work parties are well supported and valued, attracting people from across the county and beyond, who enjoy the work, the friendship, the interesting places and the feeling of achievement. Our volunteers work alongside members of the local community and tasks are led by our trained Volunteer Co-ordinator. Because of this large tasks, that would otherwise be out of the scope of many communities (financially or practically), can be tackled. 'The volunteers have been helping in St Andrew's churchyard, Norton in Powys for the past two and a half years. Without their help and encouragement our churchyard would be in a sorry state, as we have only a few volunteers due to an ageing population in the village. We have been scything, planting hedges, sowing seeds, pruning trees and clearing a large patch of brambles so people can access the memorials. This has been enjoyed by all and we are now getting compliments about the churchyard. Thank you.' (Helen, Church Warden) '...I believe fully that it is the work of the volunteers that has encouraged the community to become involved in care of the Churchyard. Without their help and support I would need to spend money on a gardener which the Parish cannot afford and the site would have become completely neglected and still runs the risk of this in the future. We had received complaints about the state of the Churchyard and the volunteers were able to change this through time and care.' Rev Sarah Hare Team Vicar in Wenlock Team Ministry
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
The local communities show their support to the volunteers by providing a warm welcome accompanied by plenty of tea and cake!
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
More equipment and a trailer will enable us to accommodate more volunteers and undertake conservation tasks in more sites. We will work in 40 sites and would estimate that at least 50 people from each community will benefit from a more beautiful and accessible churchyard and burial ground - making around 2,000 people.
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
We will spend the money on tools, equipment and a trailer to safely carry the tools needed for our work parties. We are undertaking a variety of fundraising activities to raise the remaining funds. One of our volunteers is taking part in a half marathon this year and those less energetic are looking to do a sponsored walk!
When and why was your project founded?
We have been undertaking conservation work in burial grounds across Shropshire since 2008.