Tag Archives: volunteering

Tesco Bags of Help

BEACON is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores – being awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

BEACON’s ‘Love Your River Bollin’ is one of the groups on the shortlist.BEACON River Guardian Training

Any money raised will support BEACON to engage with more local people across the Bollin catchment, to raise awareness of value their local river, which will then foster a greater appreciation for it. We aim to highlight the impact people have on the water environment in a positive way to inspire people to change their behavior, and become guardians of their local river. We also aim to train more River Guardian volunteers to monitor water quality at their own ‘Adopt-A-Spot’ location along a stretch of the River Bollin or one of its tributaries.

Voting is open in all Tesco stores throughout September and October. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £33 million to more than 6,400 projects up and down the UK.

To vote for  ‘Love Your River Bollin’, shop in one of the stores listed below and ask for a token at the checkout. Make sure to put your token in the ‘Love Your River Bollin’ box!

BRAMHALL     SK7 1JR
ALDERLEY RD SK9 1LH
HANDFORTH SK9 3PA
DEAN ROW RD SK9 2TA
WILMSLOW RD SK9 3HQ
ALDERLEY EDGE SK9 7JT

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

River Guardian Training Workshop

 

BEACON River Guardian TrainingBEACON held a fantastic River Guardian workshop on 25th January at Marthall Hall.  There were over 30 volunteers who attended the day-long workshop, which was a mixture of indoor desktop training, and then outdoor practical learning.

The aim of the workshop was to train volunteers, who have come from all backgrounds and levels of experience, to be able to safely take  water samples from local watercourses, and test the samples there and then using simple test kits.  These kits test phosphate and nitrate levels, pH and temperature of the water.  Volunteers then record this information and send the results to BEACON where we can analyse this information and see where problem areas are.

The day was kicked off by Terry Dudley, of the Birkin Fly Fishers, who explained the work that has previously been done by the anglers, and also students from Manchester University who took and tested water samples from various points along Birkin and Mobberley Brooks.  There is therefore already a good deal of baseline data for us to work with.

BEACON River Guardian TrainingCaroline Riley, from Healthy Rivers Trust, then spoke to the group about the importance of water quality testing, what we use the information for and how to carry out the tests themselves.  Caroline gave a practical demonstration of the equipment and test kits, and also answered questions.  Anna Gilchrist of Manchester University was also on hand to answer any tricky questions the volunteers had!

After lunch the group walked from Marthall Hall to Pedley Brook where they were all able to practice carrying out the water tests and how to accurately record the information.  A quick kick-sample was also carried out and a stickleback was found in the bottom of the brook!  The tests carried out on the brook showed low levels of both phosphate and nitrate too.

BEACON River Guardian Training

 

 

 

BEACON River Guardian Training

On returning to the Hall volunteers were encouraged to ‘Adopt and Spot’, to take and test water samples from on a regular basis, and equipment and test kits were handed out.

The day was a huge success with positive feedback received from the attendees.  People from over ten different partner organisations attending the training, as well as individual interested volunteers.  The volunteers have now ‘adopted’ 25 spots along Mobberley, Birkin and Sugar Brooks as well as along the Rivers Dean and Bollin.

BEACON River Guardian Training

If you would like to find out more about the River Guardian project, or become a River Guardian yourself please contact us here.BEACON River Guardian Training

 

Partnership working bashes balsam!

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

Picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

As the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work’, and this is definitely the case for anything BEACON hopes to achieve in the Bollin Catchment.  By working in partnership with other organisations, landowners and local communities we can bring together those many hands to work towards one common aim; improving our water courses and local environment for everyone to enjoy.

 

On a 6th July the Environment Agency and Bollin Valley Partnership teamed up to carry out a huge balsam bash on land owned and managed by the National Trust at Styal.  There was a really good team of 20 volunteers from the Environment Agency, made up from a number of different departments.  The weather was kind to the team and it didn’t rain for the whole event, which always makes a difference to the mood!

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large section of riverbank and southern woods was cleared of balsam, which complemented work done last year with a much smaller Environment Agency  team.  The National Trust were delighted with the work done as they have not had the resources to host large groups pulling balsam this year.  Huge thanks to Rachel Argyros, EA, and Emma Houghton, BVP for organising this balsam bash.

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both the Bollin Valley Partnership and Environment Agency would like to run this event again next year, with even more volunteers so we can really get to grips with the balsam in this area. A great example of partnership working!

 

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

Goodbye…but not quite!

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So, today is my last day in the paid BEACON Project Officer post. This post has ended due to a lack of funding, something that has troubled the BEACON Project for some time now.

Whilst it has been very sad to be closing down the project, it has been great to go over old files and photos and remember all the fantastic work that has been done as part of this project. Volunteers have been integral to this work and I am hugely grateful for all the input everyone has had over the years, be it with invasive species or diffuse water pollution. There has been over 7,000 volunteer hours contributed during the project lifetime, and over 2,400 volunteers involved ranging from 3 years to 90 years old. Without all your hard work the BEACON Project would not be as well-known and well-regarded as it is today.

BEACON Bollin RDWP Walkover SurveyI will be volunteering one day a week to maintain the project’s presence going as there are options to resume BEACON that will be explored fully in June. So, you can still get hold of me here or email sally.potts@nationaltrust.org.uk

There are also lots of resources now available on this website which may help answer any questions you may have, and local groups are still hosting balsam bashing events too, the details of which can also be found in the events section of the BEACON website here.

Thank you everyone for all you have contributed to caring for our little patch of the Bollin, and I look forward to what the future holds for BEACON.

All the very best.

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New Volunteer Opportunities

alsam Bashing Manchester University Singaporean Nurses VolunteersCan you write persuasively, informatively and inspire others to change their behaviors and attitudes?  Have you got what it takes to support community groups, teachers and young people to hold their own balsam bashes?  If so, below are the details of two exciting new volunteer opportunities with BEACON that might just be for you:

Volunteer Education Officer

  • This role is to create resources that will educate and raise awareness of invasive species throughout the Bollin catchment.
  • Your job will be to create two different information packs:
    • One about biosecurity for anglers, canoeists and other groups that use the water to recreate
    • One about the Asian Hornet (a new priority invasive no-native species) and the work of BEACON in general for local beekeepers, biological recorders and entomology groups
  • You will have to search for the contact details of the groups who will be sent this information, and mailshot these information packs out.
  • The majority of resources will be provided by DEFRA, but you will need to compose an introductory letter or flyer explaining why these materials are being distributed.
  • You must be very confident with using MS Word, MS Publisher and the internet

Balsam Bashing Champion

  • This role is to create a ‘Balsam Bashing Leaders Pack’ with all the information in it that groups will need to plan, organise and host their own balsam bashes.
  • Once interested groups have been identified and the packs created, you will then organise a ½ day workshop to train group leaders to ensure they are confident enough to hold their own balsam bash events.
  • Most resources will be provided by DEFRA and BEACON, but you will need to compose additional introductory information, event plans and posters to include in the packs.
  • You must be a very confident user of MS Word, MS Publisher and the internet.

Both roles will be supported by the BEACON Project Officer and will be largely office based at Styal, SK9 4HZ, although working from home is possible.  It is envisaged that these roles will require a commitment of ½ day to 1 day per week for 2 months.  Your travel expenses can be reimbursed.

For more information or to register an interest in either of these opportunities please contact Sally Potts, BEACON Project Officer, here.  Closing date for expressions of interest in these roles is Friday 27th February.

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