FLEX Students Honoured for Volunteer Work at Idle Valley Nature Reserve

FLEX Students Honoured for Volunteer Work at Idle Valley Nature Reserve

12 December 2023

Students from FLEX gathered at Retford Town Hall on 1 December 2023 for the Bassetlaw Community and Voluntary Service (BCVS) 50th Anniversary Celebration Event. Here they were presented with awards for their volunteer work cleaning up the land surrounding our Rural Learning Centre at Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

Run in partnership with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, this campus is set in a 375-hectare nature reserve that focuses on wildlife and environmental education. Every week, FLEX students work alongside Wildlife Trust staff to maintain the expansive network of lakes, wetlands, grasslands, and scrub. They contribute greatly to the preservation and growth of this unique reserve, doing everything from clearing up litter to felling trees for natural fences.

Earlier this year, Bassetlaw Action Centre initiated a campaign urging locals to join hands in tidying up the nature reserve as part of the Point of View (POV) Project. A bin shaped like a beaver was installed outside the visitor centre, where all recyclable waste can be collected. In November 2021, 8 beavers, including 4 kits (baby beavers), were released to an enclosed area at Idle Valley Nature Reserve, bringing a deeper message behind the chosen shape.

The POV initiative seeks to establish new, robust, and long-lasting connections between social enterprise, the larger voluntary sector, and arts organisations. By placing young people’s voices and “point of view” at the centre of all POV activities, it will bring about positive change.

FLEX students have been at the forefront of this new project, dedicating their time and energy towards preserving Idle Valley Nature Reserve. In turn, creating a more sustainable environment for both wildlife and the local community.

Paula Graham, POV Lead at Bassetlaw Action Centre, said: “Prior to our involvement with POV, our organisation traditionally recruited older, retired, or semiretired volunteers who wanted to give something back. Young people were alien to us, but our interest was sparked by extending our reach to young people rather than an art project.

We reached out to North Notts College, and they have been valuable to this project, supported by their tutors. They have met every week and collected the tin cans from the Nature Reserve, which has in turn benefited the environment.”

Adele Unwin, Lecturer/CTL, said: It was amazing to see our students in the FLEX Department receive an award for all their hard work that they do at Idle Valley. I am super proud to work with an amazing bunch of young learners that take nothing for granted and provide a service for the local community.

Thomas Johnson, FLEX student: I really enjoyed myself at the presentation on Friday. It made me proud to be a volunteer.

Find out more about flexible learning programmes available at North Notts College.

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