A social enterprise which provides environmental and countryside education for Rochdale Borough Council has celebrated its first anniversary.
Former rangers Jude Murray and Jude Alderson, who have more than 30 years combined experience running outdoor learning activities, formed Nature Ed to provide a range of education events at Hollingworth Lake for the public, schoolchildren and community groups.
Councillor Jacqui Beswick said: “By having such an innovative social enterprise as Nature Ed providing countryside and education services for the council means that we have been able to deliver more diverse activities to a larger range of groups at less cost to the Council Tax payer.
“Jude and Judy have a wealth of experience between them which they can pass on to the younger generation.”
Alongside delivering more than 50 curriculum-linked sessions to school groups, additional activities have included:
- Helping Friends of Hollingworth Park to secure £6,000 from the Big Lottery Fund for delivering community family fun days;
- Providing three six week specialist Forest School programme for pupils at Holy Trinity Primary School
- Combined library/park events as part of the Summer Reading Challenge and Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival.
Judy and Jude said: ““This has been a very exciting journey. Since starting NatureEd in April 2013, we have been able to breathe new life into the environmental educational provision delivered in Rochdale borough and have been delighted at the response we’ve had from schools and community groups.
“Working from a base at Hollingworth Lake our aim was to get people more involved in learning about the local environment. Over the last year we have not only exceeded our target but have nearly doubled the service provision that Rangers had been able to offer in previous years.
“We are very motivated and have really enjoyed this process and through our on-going agreement with the Council and with a close working relationship with the ranger service and Friends groups we will be able to build on this success working on longer term projects to enhance and improve environmental opportunities for all.”
Looking to the future Nature Ed hopes to offer further environmental training opportunities for teachers, volunteers and the public.
NatureEd is running a Family Forest Fun event on Sunday, 18 May, as part of Rochdale Borough Council’s Countryside Service events programme, during which visitors can discover wild foods in the woods around Hollingworth Lake. Places are limited so contact 01706 373421 to book.
Schools and community groups can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details about curriculum-linked sessions.
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