Ancora House young people go green to support the Countess of Chester Country Park

by CWP News - 01 March 2017

The Countess of Chester Country Park is set to be greener than ever this spring, as more trees have been planted by young people from Ancora House, a child and adolescent mental health inpatient unit based at the Countess of Chester Health Park.

The unit provides specialist care for young people, and often uses the nearby park as part of treatment, therapy and exercise sessions.  The youngsters wanted to be able to give something back and help the park in a practical way, so they worked with landowners, the Land Trust and managing partners, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to arrange their tree planting day.

The group of young people and staff dug deep to plant several trees, including silver birches, oak trees and other varieties. They worked tirelessly despite the rain and had a great time!

Assistant Psychologist, Abigail Jones from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “We heard about the community tree planting project and contacted Sue, a conservation volunteer, to see if we could help and get involved. Both Bethany Dean (Occupational Therapist), Claire Cooper (OT Student) and I supported the young people in planting a range of trees and we all had lots of fun getting stuck in. The young people reflected that they had enjoyed being outside and involved in such a valuable project and would love to do this again!”

Sarah Palgrave-Neath, Estates Manager North at the Land Trust, added: “We’re always delighted when people want to get hands-on to help their local park, and to know that this green space is supporting these young people in their health and wellbeing is fantastic.”

Tree planting has been underway for several weeks at the Countess of Chester Country Park, with 200 volunteers planting 2,000 saplings in January. Schoolchildren have also been planting trees over the past few weeks, and their sessions will continue until the end of March.

Sue Loughran, from The Conservation Volunteers, is leading the tree planting project on site, with support from Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park and The Mersey Forest, as well as the Land Trust and TCV.

She commented: “It’s been wonderful to see so many people engaging with the park. They’ve been telling us all about why they value their local green space and how it benefits them, so we’re looking forward to a really busy spring and summer with lots of visitors and plenty of activities for everyone.”

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