Solihull Conservation Volunteers (SCV) is a small but dedicated independent practical conservation group, that has been working for over 30 years to improve the environment all over Solihull for the benefit of people and wildlife. SCV has no paid staff and is entirely run by volunteers in their spare time, not only working on the tasks but maintaining the equipment we use and planning the tasks with Solihull Council. The volunteers put in a total of approximately 1500 hours a year working on sites in the whole Solihull area. The active Membership is approximately 25 with between 10 to 15 volunteers out on most tasks, the age range varies from teenagers to retired people in there 70's and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most of the work carried out by SCV has been on Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council owned sites and has helped in some of these sites becoming Local Nature Reserves and 14 obtaining the prized Green Flag status, this is the benchmark national standard for publicly accessible parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom. We have an impressive skills base in our volunteer team including qualified engineers as well as people qualified in construction and tree felling. We therefore set ourselves very high standards in terms of the improvements and impact that we want to make.
SCV has the ability to carry out a wide variety of conservation tasks including habitat creation and improvement tasks like coppicing, hedgelaying and meadow cutting to access improvement tasks like laying stone paths, sleeper bridge construction and replacing stiles with accessible gates. The work of SCV has improved the accessibility of nature reserves,enabling substantially more people from the community to enjoy these spaces, including those who are less able-bodied throughout the Solihull area. We have improved the access to a number of the sites as well as increasing the benefit of the areas for wildlife as well as the local community.
Funding for the group comes from modest payment for work carried out for Solihull Council and other bodies, as well as donations from SCV members and the general public. The major expenses for the group are the running cost of the specially converted van to carry the volunteers, tools and materials to the working sites, and the cost of Public Liability Insurance, both of these have significantly increased over the last few years. More funding would enable us to continue our work to increase the diversity of wildlife and to improve the appearance of public spaces so that they are valued and enjoyed by local communities.