A NEW countryside ranger service is to be set up in Selkirk after gaining grants from two trusts.
Thanks to £10,000 from the Kay Dickson Trust and £2,500 from the Vodafone World of Difference social enterprise, Borders Environmental Education Services (BEES) will offer the outdoors training to the town’s young people.
BEES will run a pilot project with Rowlands Youth Club and the Haining Trust at the Haining Estate from March to October.
Former BEES volunteer Jan Barr, who has gained the Vodafone cash to work with BEES, becomes the organisation’s part-time young rangers development officer.
She undergoes a day’s training at the end of this month before starting four months of research into setting the service up.
She said: “We worked in the summer with Selkirk young people for two weeks and just seeing the difference it made to these kids, from the first day to when they finished, people couldn’t believe they were the same kids, they were smiling and open.
“I just love to make a difference in that way.”
Jan is one of 500 winners of the Vodafone World of Difference grant across the UK.
She said: “It’ll make a real difference to those members of the community who don’t get many opportunities to succeed and in the long term will provide employment opportunities and revive rural skills.”
And of the £10,000 boost from the Kay Dickson Trust – which approached BEES with the offer – she said: “It was really great of them.”
Meanwhile, there are 10 places left for the summer pilot for young people aged between 13 and 17 when the teenagers will take part in conservation work and develop leadership skills so they can help run activity weeks for younger children in the summer.
She also hopes more adults will volunteer to help with BEES projects and full training is given to anyone interested in the outdoors and natural history with an aptitude for working with teenagers.
For more information about the project and how to volunteer, contact Jan Barr on 01835 870606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org