Bosses at a South Yorkshire beauty spot have praised a police and fire service led youth programme for its impact on transforming one of the county’s best loved green spaces.
Young people aged 16 to 25 who took part in the Princes Trust Team Programme at Dearne fire station earlier this year cleared rubbish, reinforced lakeside banks and created a nature trail as part of efforts to improve Manvers Lake.
Their efforts have won praise from Manvers Lake & Dearne Valley Trust, who say the team’s efforts have boosted visitor numbers and renewed LOCAL interest in the site.
Director Ian Rodwell said: “Despite unsettled weather we have had a great summer with more visitors to site than ever before. Many of these visitors come to walk around the lake and admire the views, and enjoy some green space in the heart of South Yorkshire.
“This green space is much better thanks to the work of the Princes Trust Team Programme, who cleared many years accumulation of rubbish from deep in the undergrowth. They also constructed some natural erosion protection from materials on site to protect the lakeside banks from washing away and made a nature trail through a small coppice.
“The team showed commendable effort and determination, with many of them working outdoors for a week in February when it rained almost constantly. A couple of team members wanted some shelter from the rain and they asked me if they could paint the inside of our cafe area, which they started on immediately and stayed late until the job was finished. It really was a pleasure to have a group of young people on site who wanted to make such a difference.
“As well as the long lasting environmental improvements gained by clearing the rubbish and protecting the banks from erosion, a legacy of the project was the formation of the ‘Friends of Manvers Lake’. This is a group of volunteers who communicate via a Facebook group and all want to see the lake and parkland improve.
“When the young people set up the group, within days it gained over 100 members and this number is still growing. We use the group to communicate with people who are not members of our sports clubs, but who have an interest in the lake to let them know what events we have and what is happening on site.”
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the Team Programme two years ago. During that time around 100 young people have benefited from the 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16 – 25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.
The courses are based at fire stations and are the only programmes of their type in the country to be jointly delivered by fire and police services. For more information or to sign-up, email firstname.lastname@example.org