Soapbox Beverley Rhodes: Farewell to WildDerby, and thanks to all who gave their time
TO all the wildlife volunteers and participants in Derby and beyond, now we have hit the end of the road may I take this one opportunity to thank you all.
It has been a great pleasure and an enormous honour for me to have had the privilege of your company through WildDerby.
The style of unconditional positive partnership has been a credit to everyone who has played their part.
We have succeeded in achieving national awards for wildlife gain and met national targets for wildlife spaces.
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We have helped Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and the Trust for Conservation Volunteers meet their aims in Derby.
We have met national and local biodiversity action plan targets.
And we have together helped more and more Derby people join us in delivering our vision for Derby.
The largest contribution has been the sheer amount of volunteer time and effort. Your individual contribution may have been big or small, you may have been on a wildlife walk, a fungus foray or pulled some balsam. You may have visited a local nature reserve or could still be trying to find Elm Wood.
It doesn't matter, because the most extraordinary result of WildDerby has been the collective, unconditional and honest contribution that has benefited Derby people and Derby wildlife over 10 years.
You have been a part of that contribution and its sense of vision.
I apologise for the ridiculous battle with the council that you have had, so that you can continue to undertake the city council service.
To be delivering £250,000 of volunteer time annually towards the long-term value of the quality of city life has been entirely lost on councillors' ears.
They are not worthy of your good cause and have been shown up as representing worthless dogma.
The lack of leadership and the displacement of responsibility has demonstrated a lack of capability in both the public and political domain and does not give the city hope in any quarter to meet any targets of a financial nature.
WildDerby was not given the option to look for grants or reinvent itself in a new form, it was not offered to another part of the council or solutions considered by people that know.
I was told it was a low priority for the council and redundancy was my only option… although WildDerby never actually cost too much but benefited parks, wildlife, education, new people, residents and wildlife.
I now wonder who is actually qualified to judge.
Thank you for your help, commitment and reason – wildlife needs you.