Conservation Volunteers talk for Fellowship

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THE speaker at the weekly meeting of Ballywillan Men’s Fellowship was Daphne Purdy, the manager of the North East branch of Conservation Volunteers.

Members were surprised to learn of the extent of the work of the Volunteers throughout Northern Ireland, with a score of projects on-going in the local area.

In existence since 1959, Conservation Volunteers each year helps to reclaim many hundreds of acres of green space as well as undertaking work such as planting trees and hedgerows, clearing footpaths, building steps and styles, and transforming derelict urban spaces.

Networks of community groups, recruited and trained by a small band of project leaders, have recently undertaken schemes at the White Rocks, Ballintoy, Portstewart, Downhill, Ballycastle and Cushendall, working with local authorities as well as bodies such as golf clubs and community groups as well as private individuals.

The sand dunes at the East Strand at Portrush have recently received attention in an effort to retain this important element of our coastline and bracken and buckthorn has been cleared from many areas, thus allowing the regeneration of normal growth.

The charity’s educational role among schools, where many environmental schemes by children were launched and supervised, was also described by Mrs. Purdy, whose talk was illustrated by a slide presentation.

Thanks to the speaker for her insight into Conservation Volunteers, a remarkable organisation of which members had previously had little knowledge, was extended by vice-president James Heaney.

Another successful season of the Fellowship concludes this Thursday when members, their wives and friends will be enjoying the annual outing, this year to Londonderry, leaving Ballywillan Presbyterian Church Hall by coach at 9.30.

Regular meetings of the Fellowship will resume in September.