Bolton North East Wildlife Trail, a group of volunteers based in Breightmet, Bolton, Greater Manchester have just been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.
Bolton NEWT engages the community in collaboration, improvement and practical conservation of local wildlife. Led solely by volunteers, together we manage a community growing hub where we grow and donate surplus food to food banks, we manage the wildlife habitats at Leverhulme Park, host four large free community events, and also annually join local Councillors as we create a Remembrance day display on Bury Road along with raising funds for the Royal British Legion. Twice a year we plant hedgerows with local children, we joined a local resident to help create a fairy forest making over 150 fairy houses for children, we gave out Christmas and Halloween goodie bags during the pandemic along with helpful advice about Covid and our events now bring together upwards of 500 people.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Nadim Muslim, said:
“Huge congratulations to Bolton NEWT on receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.From their work in Leverhulme Park to their support of the Royal British Legion, this a well-deserved recognition of the hard work of all involved.
“By encouraging people to get outdoors and spend time in green spaces, they have also had a positive impact on the of health and wellbeing of local residents. The group has also inspired many young people to engage with nature and to take an interest in conservation. We all want to make Bolton cleaner and greener and the younger generation have a vital role to play in achieving that goal.
“Bolton’s charity and volunteer sector is the envy of the UK and Bolton NEWT is a great example of what communities can achieve when they work together.”
Bolton North East Wildlife trail is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognize outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including: a rural support group for farmers in Shropshire; a community magazine addressing isolation in the Western Isles; a running club engaging all ages in County Tyrone; a film academy and community hub based in South Wales, and a food bank in Greater London feeding vulnerable individuals and providing training opportunities.
Representatives of Bolton NEWT will receive the award crystal and certificate from Sir Warren Smith KCVO KstJ JP appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester later this summer. In addition, two volunteers from Bolton NEWT will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Chris Banks, publicist for Bolton NEWT says “Bolton NEWT started with local resident’s litter picking Leverhulme Park, after five years, our amazing community in Breightmet has transformed our volunteer led group into becoming a food growing hub, a wildlife conservation group, a seasonal event provider and a place where residents with the desire to improve their town can come to us, and we’ll work with them to make those changes they want to see. Without the time and dedication that the committee members and volunteers have given over the years, none of this would have been possible. A special thank you needs to be given to our two local Councillors Adele and Stuart, along with Simon and Jasmine for not just supporting Bolton NEWT as volunteers but as committee members, going above and beyond to make Breightmet a better place for us all.”