Networking and Skills
Written by: Jon Balaam
The Networking and Skills project set out to support those involved in the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership through the provision of training and resources, specifically targeted at the types of projects and activities the programme has delivered. It was a training-based project, with courses in a range of skills and techniques from guided walk leading to chainsaw use to fundraising.
It was particularly focused on supporting and enabling volunteers, recognizing the crucial role they will play in maintaining GCLP projects into the future, and in delivery of future projects. In addition to delivery of training we engaged volunteer co-ordinators from across Greensand Country in identifying how best to support volunteers, and have also produced Habitat Resource Packs to support future training courses and groups managing key habitats in the future.
A wide range of training courses were delivered to a high standard, with very good feedback from participants across the board.
Benefits to People
The project benefited volunteers working across Greensand Country, as well as key staff delivering GCLP projects. People learnt new skills and developed their knowledge, with courses including:
- Leading Guided Walks
- Looking after sandstone structures
- Practical skills: Chainsaw, strimmer, chipper.
- First Aid
- Habitat Management and Monitoring
- Being a Volunteer walk Warden
It has demonstrated that the Trust has the ability and facilities to co-ordinate a range of training courses. It also demonstrated that volunteers have an eagerness to learn new skills.
Benefits to Heritage & Landscape
The courses and resource packs have contributed to an improved understanding of the landscape, its habitats and key heritage features such as sandstone structures.
Ultimately the training of volunteers should result in better management of our heritage and conserved/enhanced condition – currently it is too early to state this, but many people undergoing training felt more confident in applying skills and knowledge learnt in the future.
Challenges & Lessons Learnt
Delivering training courses during the Covid-19 Pandemic was very challenging, and we could only deliver during periods where it was safe and legal to deliver training courses, especially those with an indoor element. This had an impact on numbers despite wide ranging efforts to promote.
While the project was successful, it’s original format was focused around a co-ordinating officer. Unfortunately, although someone was successfully recruited, they did not start in post (a direct result of the pandemic – they were asked to take up an emergency co-ordinating position). The course co-ordination, delivery and evaluation was overseen by different staff, and while the project was successful it required greater focus to ensure smooth and consistent delivery.
We would like to continue to develop this project, but it will be essential to focus it around a co-ordinating officer.
“The training gave me more confidence, even though I have been leading activities for years. The training on how to engage people especially young children with nature has influenced our next event”
– KH, Volunteer.
“I have led 3 walks since the training, one was part of the Greensand Festival. The training gave me more confidence and encouragement to be more ‘entertaining’. I did more research for each walk and used some props as suggested by the trainers. It has definitely given me more confidence”.
– BF, Volunteer
“The trainers’ knowledge/delivery and enthusiasm. Wow! I have been inspired. Meeting great people/enthusiasts. Discovering new parts of the Greensand Country”
– CK, local parish council.