Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell visits wildlife project

Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell visits wildlife project

Olympic champion Sally Gunnell, OBE came to Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Woods Mill nature reserve to support an initiative funded by The Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF).

As a local Sussex resident and ambassador for The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Sally met Sam Buckland, the current trainee, who will have completed a year working with the Sussex Wildlife Trust Reserves team in the spring.

Open to young people living in, or close to Sussex, the one-year volunteer training scheme enables Sam to gain valuable skills and practical conservation experience to improve his employment prospects in the countryside.

As well as working towards a Level 2 Diploma in Environmental Conservation, Sam is receiving on-the-job training learning skills including coppicing, scrub cutting, animal husbandry and livestock handling, as well as off-road driving and first aid.

Speaking about his year long placement, 25-year-old Sam says, “It can be hard for young people to get into conservation work but this scheme’s enabled me to work alongside people who are incredibly knowledgeable – they have a whole lifetime’s experience – and I’m now able to take these skills and move forward with my own career.”

Sally Gunnell, Olympic champion and ambassador for The Prince’s Countryside Fund, explains: “It is a great pleasure to meet beneficiaries of the Fund and find out first-hand about the remarkable work that is going on to preserve our beautiful landscape and ensure future generations are equipped with the skills to continue this.

“Projects such as this one, funded by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, enable young people to get a much needed foot on the employment ladder, and acquire the skills and qualifications crucial to pursue rural based careers, a field in which there are limited training opportunities available.”

Thanks to a generous three-year funding programme from The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Sussex Wildlife Trust is now looking for a new trainee to start the second year-long placement in April 2014. For further details please contact Mark Monk-Terry on 01273 492630.

For more information on The Prince’s Countryside Fund please visit www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk

For more information on Sussex Wildlife Trust visit www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk