TCV will be responsible for the management of seven green spaces, which include 237 hectares of plantation woodland across seven sites in Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham in South Yorkshire. They have been created over the last 20 years through the reclamation and landscaping of former coal mining sites and now include wetlands, woods, heaths, meadows and park land, which support a wide range of wildlife.
The national charity aims to work with local charities and organisations so they benefit from the sites, with the role of green space in health and well-being and in tackling social disadvantage and isolation in mind. It will continue the work of previous land managers, the Forestry Commission, of working with volunteers and aims to add new volunteer schemes over the next 12 months.
Alan Carter, director of portfolio management at the Land Trust, said that the deal would further the excellent charitable work done so far by the Forestry Commission. He thanked the commission for its commitment.
Forestry Commission district manager, central district, Andy Medhurst, said: "The Forestry Commission is immensely proud to have been involved with these sites for over 15 years. We’ve helped take them from black ex-colliery spoil heaps to the amazing community woodland sites they are today. The whole team have enjoyed working to develop these sites and watch them grow and transform. We’ve delivered an extensive range of community, learning, health and volunteering projects over this time, have had great fun and lots of laughter."
TCV works with more than 11,000 volunteers and more than 2,000 community groups and trains around 18,000 people a year. It now has more than 130 Green Gyms, outdoor horticulture volunteering with a focus on fitness. Last year it recruited former NHS Health Check programme manager Craig Lister to run the programme and secured a grant from Nesta and the Cabinet Office to grow the number of Green Gyms to 600. The initiative won a Health and Wellbeing Award from the Royal Society for Public Health, in October.