CEIS Ayrshire launched its Coastal Ranger Programme in January 2015 in association with partners, North Ayrshire Council (Streetscene), Eglinton Country Park, The Ayrshire Community Trust (TACT) and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).
The programme was developed in response to the Ayrshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP), which aims to:
- Protect and enhance the natural environment of Ayrshire; and
- Encourage local groups, organisations and individuals to work together to conserve biodiversity
The local authority has a commitment to reduce the use of mechanical beach cleaning equipment, which damages sand based habitats. This pilot project covers the Western Gailes shoreline from Irvine to Troon, not only a well-trodden path by locals and tourists, but also a site that plays host to several rare species of plants and is the first line of sea defence for the area.
Skills and training for volunteers
The programme, designed with SCVO has provided 5 young ex-offenders, who have faced barriers reintegrating into society and the employment market, with an opportunity to access supervised training and work experience while making a positive contribution to the local community.
“I have been for 16 job interviews since leaving prison and nobody will give me a chance. I am just glad I have a purpose to get up in the morning now. Thanks for this opportunity.’’
Throughout the programme the trainees undertake:
- Sustainable beach cleaning
- Guided walks for local schools, local residents and tourists.
- Habitat surveys and monitoring
- Being a ‘Country Ranger’ for a day
- Presenting to local businesses and schools
- Intensive job searches & CV workshops
- Measuring & logging the waste from the beach on a weekly basis
- Separating recyclable products e.g. cardboard, aluminium, plastic & wood from generic waste.
Since the programme commenced, there has been a significant reduction in ‘fly tipping’. The project has also reported the removal and recycling of 118lbs of waste from coastal pathways and 618lbs from the beach and have experienced huge interest in the project from local communities, businesses and media.
To find out how else CEIS Ayrshire works with job seekers, employers and partners, visit www.ceisayrshire.co.uk
To read about other CEIS community initiatives, click here