Case study - Scottish Natural Heritage and Apex Scotland

In recent years Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Apex Scotland have worked together to run a volunteer programme on local nature reserves that supported both SNH and Apex picture 3the work of the reserves and the ‘Apex U Turn’ service

Apex volunteers are drawn from a range of disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom were at risk of (re)offending. The programme has typically involved weekly six-hour sessions over 30 weeks for groups of three to ten at each session. Tasks carried out include: construction of boardwalk, picnic benches and seats, scrub clearance, maintenance of gates, fences and hides and the making and installation of bird boxes, with one instance of wildfowl monitoring work.

The success of the project depended on excellent collaboration between the SNH reserve officer and the Apex supervisor. This in turn provided a strong basis for the project to provide effective development and training

SNH and Apex picture 2

opportunities for the volunteers and as a direct result a number of the volunteers have been able to secure employment.  Feedback from the volunteers also indicated the personal development benefits of the sessions which not only included physical tasks but also talks by the reserve officer about the natural habitat and particular species or environmental issues.

SNH’s reserve officer reported that the relationships and learning that emerged from the project made it one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.

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