West Norfolk community groups honoured for vital biodiversity efforts
Two West Norfolk groups have received awards for their work to maintain vital green spaces in their community.
Every year, the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership organises a community awards event to celebrate groups and individuals who voluntarily give their time to enhance the natural environment.
And the Hardings Pits Community Association (HPCA) in Lynn and the Snettisham Common Conservation Volunteers were both recognised at the ceremony in Norwich on Tuesday.
The HPCA received a special group award for its efforts to manage the doorstep green, which was described as a “gem” by judges, over nearly 15 years.
Local county councillor Alexandra Kemp said: “Hardings Pits Doorstep Green is the best kept secret in Norfolk and the rich biodiversity of this ‘urban countryside’ is so outstanding.”
“The dedication and relentless round-the-year work of the association’s volunteers, who keep Hardings Pits so beautiful for us all, more than merits this top award. I am so delighted for them.”
The award comes just weeks after hundreds of hedge plants were stolen from the site. Officials now say they hope to replant the area this autumn.
Rick Morrish, of the HPCA, said: “You get the rough with the smooth.
“A lot of people enjoy it and say how much they like walking around the site.”
The plants were grown to define the boundary edge of the open space.
The Snettisham group was highly commended in the groups category for its management of heathland on the village’s common.
Project leader Diane Westwood said: “The volunteers will be thrilled to hear of this award.
“We are a small dedicated group that meet once a month to care for a beautiful piece of remnant lowland heath at the heart of Snettisham common.”
Former parish council chairman Ros Pugh added: “It was a wonderful evening, and the award is a fitting tribute to the work of Diane, her husband Steve and the other volunteers.
“As we were being presented with the award, I could not help but think of the late councillor Ann Lamplugh who began this whole project. She would have been thrilled.”
Liam Smith, communities and nature assistant for the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, said: “These awards recognise the achievements of groups working on biodiversity projects in their local community.
“Local groups can inspire people to recognise and care for their local biodiversity while providing the chance to get together and work with a common purpose.
“We are looking for results for participants and the group as a whole, as well as those achieved for wildlife and habitats.”