Crowning achievement as conservation group receives prestigious Queen’s Award

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Milford Conservation Volunteers
Milford Conservation Volunteers at Old Milford Meadow

A CONSERVATION group which strives to protect and preserve wildlife has been hailed with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

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Milford Conservation Volunteers (MCV) was one of five Hampshire initiatives praised for their outstanding contributions. The accolade is the highest a voluntary organisation can receive and is equivalent to an MBE for an individual.

Members will be invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, and MCV chair David Horne said they were all “incredibly pleased”.

He added: “It is in recognition of the unstinting efforts of our members over many years to inform and motivate the local community in actively protecting and enhancing the wonderful and varied habitats and recording the bountiful wildlife species that currently thrive in our immediate locality.”

Formed in 2012, MCV grew out of the Milford Environmental Group established in the early 1990s following the 1987 hurricane which devastated Sharvells Copse.

It was assisted by the Wildlife Recording Group, Milford Parish Council, Hampshire and New Forest conservation volunteers and the national park authority’s land advice service team.

Notable MCV projects include sponsoring the cost of renovating the bridge at Barnes Copse, raising £500 towards equipment to encourage wildlife at the new village development at The Swifts, and sponsoring 13-year-old Daisy Scott, from Keyhaven, to train with British Trust for Ornithology licensed bird ringer Graham Giddens.

MCV at the Pans Wetland Observatory opening day

The group also runs nature treks and bird spotting boat trips for children and local groups, maintains two bird hides, and has backed a special project to reintroduce white-tailed eagles to the Solent.

MCV has carried out a five-year biodiversity plan, due to end this year, and is now looking for volunteers to work on the next one for 2021-25.

Keith Metcalf, MCV conservation officer, added: “Our members, past and present, will be lifted by this announcement following the last three terribly difficult months for so many families across the country.”

Created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s golden jubilee, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service will be handed to local groups by Nigel Atkinson, Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, later this summer.

Youth and Families Matter also celebrates

ALSO gaining the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was Totton-based charity Youth and Families Matter which has 50 volunteers working with 16 staff members supporting children in the town.

During the last year, it has helped more than 2,000 individuals through its programme of one-to-one support, groups, activities, courses and a food bank. It also runs the Chapel café and Treasure Box charity shop.

Trustees chair Ray Maher said: “This is an amazing achievement for us and rightly recognises our fantastic volunteers who regularly give their time and skills to support our work. We would not be able to do what we do without them and we can’t say thank you enough.”

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