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Changing horizons

tree plantingAuthor James Roberts

Work Experience Placement with Gatwick Greenspace

James Roberts aged 22 from Crawley, was referred to us for a work experience placement via the Job Centre. He joined the weekly Youth Rangers group and our regular conservation work parties.

This is his story of how he got on

For the past four months I have volunteered with Gatwick Greenspace and it has been a pleasure. Working alongside the two Toms and Kev has been a remarkable experience - they are kind, hard working and friendly people who have a lot to give to the community.

Before I began as a volunteer I didnt have an aspiration but now I do. Together they have taught me a great deal about wildlife, carpentry and working within nature. Being out on Task Days with Kev and Tom Simpson was a laugh, and I feel proud of the glades I helped to create with them over the weeks. They are two men I hope to see in the future.

Tom Forward has taught me so much about birds and birdsong, trees, and fires, the list is endless. He inspired me to want to be a wildlife ranger like himself after taking me on a winter bird survey at Gatwick with Rachel Bicker (ecologist at the Airport). It meant getting up very early but the things I have learnt from him and everyone will not be forgotten.

I have an interest in carpentry, so the highlight of my time withGatwick Greenspace was working with Tom Simpson to make a shave horse from reclaimed wood and coppiced hazel. Learning new skills and then applying them to make this useful green woodworking tool was really fulfilling.

There are many moments I will never forget, and I willtake everything I learned and will use it as a fundamental start for my future.

Thank you Gatwick Greenspace for broadening my horizon.

Update: Since joining us, James has applied for and been offered an unconditional place on the Countryside Management course at Plumpton College. He continues to volunteer with us when he can, and his enthusiasm, hard work and initiative are a real asset to us.

Our Youth Rangers programme offers young people aged 16-25 years, the opportunity to gain practical experience in wildlife conservation to enhance further education and employment prospects.

hedge binders

Gatwick Greenspace Partnership works to benefit people, wildlife and the countryside covering the area between Horsham, Crawley, Horley, Reigate and Dorking. The project is supported by all the local councils and London Gatwick Airport, and is managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

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