Volunteers team up to bring a new lease of life to Streatham Common

Friday 14th March 2014

Volunteers working with London Wildlife Trust on Streatham Common

Last week saw almost 100 volunteers working with London Wildlife Trust on Streatham Common in Lambeth as part of Climate Week 2014, Britain’s biggest climate change campaign. This inspiring new wave of action takes place each year, with half a million people attending 3,000 events across the country.

The open space of Streatham Common is designated as a Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation and sits on the edge of what was once the Great North Wood, a large expanse of woodland which stretched almost as far as Croydon and as far north as Deptford. London Wildlife Trust is working closely with the London Borough of Lambeth and the Friends of Streatham Common to enhance the biodiversity of the Common, with a programme which includes the planting of new trees and shrubs.
The events of Climate Week shine a spotlight on the many practical and positive steps that can be taken to help create a sustainable future. On the Common, volunteers from companies such as Mace, Network Rail, Cofely GDF SUEZ, UK Power Networks and Thames Water donned wellies and gloves and got to work with the Trust.
As well as planting trees and shrubs the teams also helped London Wildlife Trust to enhance the Common’s existing habitats by cutting-back over 180m² of encroaching vegetation along the north side of the common, the results of which will provide food, shelter and habitat for a range of species.
Gilbert and Thierry, two volunteers from Thames Water, worked hard to cut back brambles and clear up litter. Thierry explained: “We always try to help where we can, we’re happy to give up our time. It’s been a beautiful day and it’s been really nice to give the area some attention.” Gilbert agreed, explaining that as he originally comes from a small village situated within a nature reserve in Portugal, the conservation of green spaces means a lot to him.
Coinciding with Climate Week, Network Rail volunteers were helping the Trust to deliver an innovative Biodiversity Offsetting trial. This two year project, being pioneered by Thameslink in partnership with London Wildlife Trust, aims to offset the loss of habitats resulting from the development of the Thameslink service.
As a Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation, the management of existing habitats on Streatham Common is integral to help trigger greater diversity of plant and animal life. The Network Rail teams demonstrated real enthusiasm for the cause, with Amelia Woodley, Environment Manager for the Thameslink Project explaining: “It’s great to get out of the office. It’s a chance to not just talk about biodiversity offsetting, but actually connect with the subject.”
Gary Buck, IMS manager, who is the Sustainability Champion for Thameslink’s Central Engineering Scheme had similar feelings: “I do a lot of sustainability reporting, and I’m involved in the approval of stage gate reviews. We encourage sustainability into design where possible and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to actually be outside doing something. It’s nice to know you’re making an impact.”
It was a pleasure to meet the teams and work alongside them. All volunteers demonstrated real team work and enthusiasm for the tasks along with an interest in the Trust’s work on site. Their work has made a significant contribution to the Trusts on-going efforts to improve the environment for people and wildlife on this important site.
More information
Employee volunteering with London Wildlife Trust
Friends of Streatham Common



Tagged with: Volunteering