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Awards hope for project to help offenders

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Fit for Work at Cowperstone footpath at StanageA Peak District project that helps offenders to improve their employment and life skills has been shortlisted in the UK National Parks Volunteer Awards.

Fit for Work is run by the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland Community Rehabilitation Company and gives people the opportunity to gain work experience and references from four days each month with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers, as well as similar arrangements with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and the Canal & River Trust.

During their time in the Peak District National Park, they learn skills such as dry stone walling, path regeneration, vegetation management and general maintenance. The work is carried out away from distractions and out of the offenders’ comfort zone and aims to give them a better appreciation of the world they live in.

Dave Cramp, conservation volunteers officer at the Peak District National Park, said: “It doesn't really matter where members of the group come from, it's a project about where they are going.  They have come to their own conclusion that they need to make changes in their life to move forward, and that is a very powerful thing to do. 

“That is definitely reflected in the way they approach the tasks – they always work enthusiastically and it’s great to seed them make such a significant contribution to their local National Park .’’

The National Parks Volunteer Awards were set up to recognise the hard work of people judged to have gone above and beyond the usual expectations of volunteer service. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the UK's 15 National Parks, putting in thousands of hours.

National Parks UK director Kathryn Cook said: "Every year, we look at the shortlist and think, 'This is amazing. This is as good as it gets'. Then the next year comes along, and again we are floored by the exceptional quality of entries."

Fit for Work has been shortlisted in the project category, with further sections for individual, young person and group. The project and group winners will receive a £1,000 bursary toward future volunteering efforts. The individual and young person winners will receive outdoor gear from brand partner Merrell.

The awards are also supported by Natural Resources England and the winners will be announced in early December.

Learn more about volunteering in the Peak District National Park.

This is an archived press release

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