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BTCV (formerly British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) is the largest practical conservation charity in the United Kingdom.

Contents

Overall Aims

It began as a body organising practical conservation tasks in the countryside for groups of volunteers. However this role has changed considerably since the foundation of the organisation. Although it has almost all been involving people in their environment in one way or another, in what the BTCV describes as "a 'hands-on' approach to conservation activities", much of the charity's work is now in urban areas and it includes in its work many varied projects including regeneration, recycling and education.

The charity enables over 150,000 volunteers per year to engage in practical conservation work in both the urban and the rural environment.

BTCV also has a for-profit trading arm, BTCV Enterprises, which generates profit to feed back into and support the charity. The company has a contract with New Deal to work with the long-term unemployed, aiming to improve skills and qualifications.

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Activities

The charity attempts to be inclusive and accessible to all, running a diverse range of activities across the UK. Many are focused around practical conservation work, but BTCV also provides extensive training, work experience and education opportunities. Projects also exist to help introduce children and young people to the environment as well as those helping to involve people with learning difficulties in environmental activities.

Some of BTCV's activities include:

  • Conservation projects
  • Green Gym, a programme to promote the health benefits of working in the outdoors
  • Conservation holidays, both in the UK and worldwide
  • Providing support to local community groups
  • Providing accredited training
  • Consultancy
  • Environmental education and waste education programmes for children and young people
  • Providing training for the long-term unemployed

History

  • In 1959, Brigadier Armstrong was appointed by the (then) Council for Nature to form a group called The Conservation Corps. The object was to involve volunteers in practical conservation work. The first project was at Box Hill, Surrey. 42 volunteers, including David Bellamy, cleared dogwood to encourage the growth of juniper and distinctive chalkland flora.
  • By 1964 the Conservation Corps had expanded its activities to include education and amenity work in the countryside. In 1966 it moved from a basement office at Queens Gate, Kensington, to new premises at London Zoo in Regent's Park. In 1968 the first training course for volunteers was held.
  • By 1969 membership had increased to 600, and volunteers completed around 6000 workdays a year. The first ever international exchange visit to Czechoslovakia that year became the forerunner for the International Project Programme of today.
  • In 1970, the Conservation Corps started to operate under the new name of British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), the Duke of Edinburgh became Patron. In 1971 the local group affiliation scheme was launched.
  • In 1972 the Conserver magazine was launched.
  • By 1974 there were 3000 registered volunteers and 57 groups had registered with BTCV.
  • In 1975 the BTCV Membership scheme was started
  • In 1977 BTCV set up an ecological park opposite the Tower of London as part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations.
  • In 1984 BTCV moved its headquarters to Wallingford, Oxfordshire.
  • In August 2006 BTCV moved to its present headquarters in Doncaster. The new "environmentally friendly" building features a sedum covered roof - hence its name - Sedum House. The Scottish office is in Stirling, the Welsh office in Whitchurch, Cardiff and the Northern Ireland office in Belfast.

The BTCV Institute for Environmental Conservation (BIEC) is a partnership between BTCV and Broxtowe College, Nottingham, funded by the Learning and Skills Council.

See also

External links


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