Mencap Pond Project: An environment for learning

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We’re surrounded by unrivalled natural beauty in the Channel Islands. We can forget how lucky we actually are to have stunning beaches, cliff walks and woods right on our doorsteps and how we all need to make an active effort to protect them.

Step in the Eco-Fund. Launched in 2008, when the Society was the first Channel Island retailer to introduce a 5p charge on single use carrier bags, the Eco-Fund’s aim was to reduce plastic bag usage - in the first year alone we saw an incredible 90% drop in the amount of plastic bags used. We also wanted to make sure that any money raised from the initiative went into sustaining and protecting our natural environment.

Of course, when we can combine environmental causes with our responsibilities to build a just and better community then we’re really on to a winner! This is why we were so delighted to support the Rozel Pond development with Jersey Mencap.

Jersey Mencap do an incredible job to support local children and adults with learning disabilities. Their Pond Project involves them working in partnership with the National Trust to develop the pond site on Rozel Hill while also offering young people with a learning disability the opportunity to learn about conservation, land management and gain valuable work experience. The sessions are supervised and enable the young people participating to acquire so many new skills: from the obvious practical ones to others such as teamwork, project work and leadership.

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A lot of work has been carried out on the site this year to help make it safer and more user friendly. In 2015, the Society sponsored the purchase of wooden benches so that the site can be opened up to other visitors. The benches will be used for training sessions and briefings, and will provide those with disabilities the opportunity to take breaks when needed.

Having visited Rozel Pond to see the project in action, I can attest first-hand to how excellent this project is. It empowers young people, connects all involved with our precious environment and shows what’s possible when organisations join forces to make positive change happen. The scheme has recently won the Insurance Corporation “Best Conservation Project 2016” and this is down to the tireless work and genuine passion the Mencap Jersey team put in day in, day out and the no less tireless work and genuine passion of the scheme’s participants.

I look forward to our continued partnership with Mencap to provide this invaluable space for our community and would like to congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition of all their work.

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