Saving our fauna and flora!
Friends of Kings Wood required to look after this important nature reserve located on the edge of Quarrington Hill -public meeting 21st April 2018
The Parish Council are looking for new volunteers to come forward. We are sad that the previous team of Kingswood volunteers who operated as part of the Kings Wood Community partnership decided to retire in the summer, after a brilliant contribution to the local environment.
As you might know, at the request of residents Quarrington Hill, Coxhoe Parish Council took a 30-year lease of the wood to preserve it as a wood for community use. The Council asked for help in maintenance and development of the wood by residents, and many people volunteered a few years ago. With the end of the Kings Wood Community Partnership we now are left with no volunteers to maintain the area.
So we are looking for your help. If you are still interested in helping, please contact the Parish Clerk and we will arrange a meeting with volunteers to understand what needs to be done and what you’d like to do. The Parish Council, ultimately, will make sure essential maintenance is carried out, but we are happy to support volunteers in helping Kings Wood to mature into a community-owned wood, and improve and develop into a community asset that everyone values and enjoys.
We arranged a community meeting at Quarrington Hill Community Centre, on 21st April 2018 (we dropped letters at all households). There was a drop in session between 10.30 am and 11.30 am involving local Councillors and then we walked to the Kings Wood around 11.45 pm for a walk about so that volunteers can gain a better understanding of whats involved. Unfortunately the event was poorly attended and no volunteers came forward
The Parish Council will now be considering its position.
Kings Wood Volunteers – the history
In 2013 Kings’ Wood was put on the market as part of the disposal of assets when Premier Waste went into receivership. Residents of Quarrington Hill came together brilliantly to protest and to engage with partner organisations to work to secure its future as a local amenity. Helped by the Parish Council, our local County Councillors and a range of voluntary organisations Kings’ Wood was saved from disposal. The area of the project is highlighted by the blue circle on the following plan:
To show support to residents and in the interests of environmental improvement the Parish Council agreed to accept responsibility for the area and The Kings’ Wood Partnership was been formed to manage and develop the site in line with the wishes of residents.
They worked with the Parish Council to conduct a household survey which at the time expanded the list of volunteers. The Partnership was to seek charitable status and was eager to engage with people of the village to ensure it remained representative of their collective views. A grant of £100 was given by the Parish Council to assist in setting up a bank account. a successful grant application has been submitted under the ‘Delivering Differently’ scheme to enable £1,600 to be spent on equipment to be used in maintaining the wood.
Over 40 members of the community attended a public meeting on 23rd June in Quarrington Hill Community Centre to show their support for the site. The Partnership undertook a household survey on the issues with the view of using the results to plan future actions. The results of the completed household survey in June provided a tremendous vote of support from the village with over a third of households responding and a total of 54 volunteers for various activities. You can check out the results of the survey from the following link:
In October 2015, at the Durham County Council’s Community Assets Steering Group meeting, the Kingswood Business Plan was signed off and approved. Coxhoe Parish Council was given approval to move to the ‘Handover’ stage of the Asset Transfer process i.e. the final stage. That meant that by late Spring 2016 control and maintenance of the part of Kingswood in Quarrington Hill came under community control via the Kingswood Partnership. Also in October 2015, a volunteers meeting took place in the Community Centre where enthusiastic residents came up with a range of ideas on how to manage the workload. The Partnership was committed to taking residents and volunteers ideas on board and held further events over a number of months. Some of those who volunteered to help with the maintenance worked alongside the County Council’s Countryside Rangers to learn more about the work needed in the wood.
The Partnership did a great deal of work had an excellent write up in the 2016 Spring edition of the Durham County News. We are very grateful for all the work they did and are sad that the Partnership has now been dissolved.
How Can I Help?
Do you think you can help maintain and enhance this important Nature Reserve. Its a real asset to Quarrington Hill and surrounding villages! If you haven’t already, then why not think about volunteering. You can get plenty of fresh air, have a laugh and learn new skills as well as
We are looking for volunteers to help in all sorts of ways such as:
- Join the work force and help put plans into action;
- Fundraising; and
- Organising Activities.
As indicated above a public meeting to engage volunteers has been arranged for 21st April 2018 and we would like people who are able to help to come forward so we can we can make arrangements and undertake publicity. Please contact the Parish Clerk if you would like to volunteer.
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