Slough Youth Parliament help transform Chalvey wetlands

Published: 06 June 2018

Members of Slough Youth Parliament and youth workers from the young people’s service have spent the day volunteering with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) at the woodland and wetland area next to Keel Drive, known locally as Temple Wood.

The team spent Thursday 31 May helping to build a new set of steps at the entrance to Temple Wood, to replace the old steps which were falling apart and had become dangerous to use.

Work included digging the ground for the steps, wheelbarrowing gravel to fill the steps, installing wooden sleepers with concrete and fixing edging along the steps.

All volunteers were given a safety demonstration at the start of the day to learn how to use all of their tools correctly, including saws, spades and hammers.

Isaac Okine, youth representative, 15, said: “It was hard work, but worth it. I really enjoyed the day and was proud of the job we all did. I’d like to go back and do more.”

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, cabinet member for children and education, added: “Slough is brimming with wonderful green spaces, woodlands and wetlands, all of which need maintaining and protecting.

“Slough Youth Parliament has made a commitment to help transform the Salt Hill stream, making it a better place for people and wildlife, and today they have made a real contribution to the future health of Slough’s wetlands.”

The council is working in partnership with environmental charity WWT to improve the Salt Hill stream and its surroundings to create a cleaner, healthier watercourse that the whole of Slough can be proud of.

Over the past two years the project team, based in the council’s parks and allotment team, has been working closely with a variety of local volunteers to transform the stream – clearing litter, monitoring water quality, seeding the banks with wildflowers, creating a new dragonfly pool, and cutting back overgrown vegetation to make it safer for pedestrians and let in more light for plants such as yellow iris and watercress.

Claire Hutchinson, working wetlands conservation officer at WWT, said: “It was fantastic to have the help of such hardworking young people who were so keen to get stuck in.

“It was a challenging day – building steps is much harder than it sounds, but we achieved much more than I expected and it was great to see their sense of pride. I hope they can come back soon to help with more environmental work!”

Further volunteer days are planned for 2018 and the Salt Hill stream project team is keen to get more local residents involved. For more information, or to get involved, please email claire.hutchinson@wwt.org.uk or call 07768 960173.