Community Board projects

by | Feb 3, 2021 |

The Bucks Council Community Boards replaced the Local Area Forums in April 2020.  We would like to thank Bucks County Council (as it was called prior to March 2020) who provided funding to Chiltern Rangers through the Local Area Forums (LAFs), enabling us to carry out numerous projects across Buckinghamshire involving many local organisations which delivered huge benefits to local communities. 

Since April 2020, we have been funded for the following projects through the Community Boards working with the local community to improve the natural environment of the Chilterns and much more:

Our Community Board project from April 2020

Our overall Community Board project seeks to deliver across multiple objectives to offer great value to the council. It works in highly valued partnerships with many other community organisations. It delivers against the corporate objectives of:

Strengthening Communities – helping create healthy resilient communities where people can take part and improve their place.

Improving Our Environment – these projects tackle, at a local scale, the twin crises of biodiversity and climate change. They take place in the Chilterns AONB and have multiple environmental benefits including helping the River Wye an internationally rare chalk stream.

Protecting the Vulnerable – tackling isolation,  mental health, providing young people across the  CB areas with opportunities, creating diversionary activities,

Increasing prosperity – the projects will promote and enhance local culture and heritage , develop and foster lifelong learning including practical skills and transferable skills, work with schools and other community groups to embed  aa sense of place.

As well as numerous Community Board objectives in Health & Well-being:

  1. promoting healthy lifestyles (helping people be more physically active, eat more healthily, reduce their alcohol consumption)
  2. bringing people together
  3. improving mental wellbeing including promoting neighbourliness
  4. improving community engagement with disadvantaged and hard to reach groups with a wellbeing focus
  5. helping to create a greener and more sustainable environment for the purpose of improving health and wellbeing

The Community Board priority areas are the following:

1 Environment & Climate Change

2 Young People & Older Residents

Environment

Our practical work is linked to national policy – The Government’s 25 year Environmental Plan, and is based on best practise in the sector, especially the findings of the Lawton Report Making Space for Nature 2010 which addresses key issues for the environment. Notably that in order to succeed, our work needs to make the environment:
bigger (in terms of area managed for nature),
better (quality through active management )
and more joined up (so that wildlife can adapt to climate change and other pressures such as urban development and infrastructure).

There is wide recognition that in order to combat the twin environmental and societal crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, action is required now.
Our projects deliver action this year in each Community Board area and work across Community Board areas to ensure the reach is as broad as possible. 

Environmental work is restricted by bird nesting season and planting season which means most work needs to be done Sept- mid March. Our sites and most groups are ready to go!
Please note, where tree planting is part of a project it will be on the following guidelines:

  • Not on other biodiversity priority habitat e.g. chalk grassland
  • right tree, right places, right reasons – ideally locally sourced.
  • Focus on food plants e.g. Buckthorn for Brimstone, Blackthorn for Hairstreaks.
  • buffer or link to existing habitats
  • no plastic tree guards
  • bark chip mulch for water conservation and weed suppressant reasons
  • no bamboo, use only locally sourced stakes e.g. hazel.

Our project work also contributes to achieving the targets set out in the Bucks Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and Chiltern Conservation Board’s 2019-2024 Management plan too so it is deliberately connected to delivering local strategic aims and adding value to these plans. Some projects such as NW Chilterns, in part target specific species such as Duke of Burgundy butterfly which is one of the top 3 most declining butterflies in the UK….the time to act is now to save this species.

People

The Rangers will be working with community groups of all ages and abilities including from our hardest to reach communities and taking them out locally to enhance local places; from rare chalk streams to glorious Chiltern woodlands to our chalk grassland biodiversity hotspots.

We will also be improving urban areas which link these all together. We will always try and engage people as close to home as possible to drive that sense of ownership and pride of place.
The sessions by their very nature involve physical activity and so are a great way to improve your physical health and mental well-being as they contribute to all of the  5 ways to well-being.

The projects we have planned aim to get to the heart of our community and make a real difference from the start to peoples lives and our environment.

Thank you from Nick Bowles – Chairman, Upper Thames branch Butterfly Conservation (March 2021)

“Just to say that we are immensely grateful to the Chiltern Ranger team for the work at Deanfield, Saunderton (three events), Small Dean Lane, Strawberry Bank, and Upper Wardrobes after the lockdown was declared and we were instructed that our volunteers must be told to stay at home.

Having no volunteers out to do essential conservation work has badly affected several reserves in N. Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire, where we normally work, partly through a much reduced programme of work throughout 2020; culminating in none at all during this winter, when we had hoped to redress the failure to act sooner. Our being told not to attend at those sites means that the usual control of scrub and planting of plug plants is postponed until autumn 2021 at the earliest and we anxiously await the results of summer surveys of biodiversity in case there are obvious negative impacts.

We consider ourselves very lucky that you managed to continue and to work so very effectively across the Chilterns, despite the rules preventing you having volunteer labour. It is also absolutely great that the various primary schools you work with trusted you sufficiently to continue to send groups of schoolchildren out to work with you and I hope to see them and the Rangers, next week; when I deliver the cowslips for planting into the scrub cleared areas at Upper Wardrobes and to Deanfield. It will be interesting to compare survey results for the coming season between the sites where Chiltern Rangers continued to work with sites which were volunteer only and nothing happened. Of course, the damage done by a missed winter season of conservation work could well play out over more than one year.”