Cheshire Wildlife Trust marks Older People’s Day on Monday 1st October
Photo Credit: Creative Play
Volunteering is being celebrated by Cheshire Wildlife Trust this national Older People’s Day on Monday 1st October. A survey carried out last year by the Jo Cox Commission found that three-quarters of older people in the UK are lonely – something that the Trust aims to tackle through its wide range of volunteering opportunities.
“The aim of the national day is to challenge people’s attitudes and outdated stereotypes,” said Sam Salisbury from Cheshire Wildlife Trust. “Volunteers have always been the backbone of our achievements. And it’s fair to say that a good number of those volunteers are what society would very loosely term ‘older people’. We don’t believe in cutting off opportunities and in fact benefit from people’s life experience and skills.”
Sam runs the Trust’s Create for Nature project which was launched in 2018. “The philosophy of harnessing people’s skills and giving them a social experience was very much at the heart of our thinking when we developed this project,” Sam explained. “We wanted to develop something that helped bring people together from the local community, to tackle the growing problem of loneliness and isolation in older people. We decided that woodworking would be a great way to do this, helping them to build skills and express their creativity.”
The Create for Nature project creates bespoke furniture and accessories for homes and gardens from waste wood, pallets and offcuts. These products are then sold to fund the Trust’s conservation work across the region.
“The project has attracted interest from retired men and women with a whole host of creative skills,” said Sam. “What they all had in common however was a willingness to come and have a go and share their knowledge, as well as their wit and experience. The icing on the cake is that we’ve managed to re-claim a range of pallets and scaffolding planks which would have ended up going to into landfill, and the group upcycles them into fantastic high quality furniture and wildlife homes.”
The group meet at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Bickley Hall Farm headquarters near Malpas every Monday.
David Burton from Tattenhall is a member of the group, “I love the social part of it, but also the satisfaction of creating something from scratch. There’s nothing better than that. It’s made me look forward to Monday mornings all over again. My daughter rings me every Monday night to hear about what new projects we’ve been working on.”