Grantham job seekers take part in training course as part of heritage project
Young unemployed people from Grantham have been taking part in a woodland learning programme as part of a project to reconnect the town’s people to its historic landscape.
The £1.2 million project, a partnership between Grantham-based charity the Woodland Trust and the National Trust, will see borders on the land connecting the eastern part of Belton House around the Bellmount Tower and Londonthorpe Woods opened up to improve the green space on the edge of town.
It has already received a funding boost of £65,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help plans progress, with work due to commence in 2020.
In readiness for this, the Woodland Trust and National Trust approached Hill Holt Wood, a social enterprise based between Newark and Lincoln that provides adult education courses in woodland, countryside and forestry management, to help promote the week-long training programme.
Hill Holt then approached Grantham Jobcentre to find willing participants.
Nine participants aged between 18-25 years old from Grantham and Sleaford took part in the week-long course earlier this month, which was a mixture of classroom-based learning and hands-on practical training carried out in Londonthorpe Woods and at Bellmount.
They were invited to attend an awards presentation ceremony in the Discovery Centre at Belton House on Friday.
Project development officer for the Woodland Trust Heather Cook said: “This project celebrates Grantham’s rich past but is also looking to the future. We want to engage young people and provide them with opportunities to learn new skills and contribute to the activities and management of the project area and make a real difference to this historic landscape. We are delighted Hill Holt Wood and the Jobcentre were able to help us give them that chance.”
Local employers including Paul Bavin Tree Care Specialists have offered the possibility of further training and experience in the hope of inspiring some of the participants to pursue this type of work in the future.
Oakwick Utility Arborists Ltd has also offered first aid training to all of the participants who have completed the course.
Jonathan Beech, employer adviser at Grantham Jobcentre, said: “We were really pleased to be approached by Hill Holt Wood, the Woodland Trust and National Trust to help promote this programme.
“Many jobseekers prefer hands-on practical work and this scheme has helped to highlight opportunities in an industry that can offer immense job satisfaction.
“Several who participated are now keen to pursue forestry work having had a taste of what is involved.”