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On a mission to restore and improve ancient woodland

2nd June 2021

The Surrey Choices Growth Team in partnership with Surrey Heath Tree Wardens are on a mission to make big improvements to Warren Wood. Maintenance undertaken is helping this area to retain its protected status as an ancient woodland.

Rt Hon Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath, made the most of a break in the weather last Friday in order to help plant an Oak tree.

Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Gove says: “Thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Surrey Choices team and the Surrey Heath Tree Wardens in Warren Wood this morning.” The work these volunteers have been doing to restore and improve this ancient woodland is truly admirable.”

The newly elected Surrey County Councillor for Camberley East, Trefor Hogg, who is a keen environmentalist and Chair of the Surrey Tree Wardens was also present. When he first visited the woodland, he remembers it being a dark, dangerous and lifeless place. Now you can hear birds all the time and locals will tell you it is a pleasure to walk in the restored area.

The Growth Team was originally established 20 years ago to help maintain the Surrey countryside and

public spaces, like Warren Wood. Today this Growth Team project continues to improve the local landscape but with a growing emphasis on developing skills for employment. People gain practical experience in horticulture, ground maintenance, woodwork and tree cutting, as well as learning social skills that are vital in the modern workplace.

Volunteers from Surrey Choices, James and Oliver have benefitted from being part of The Growth Team. Their participation has improved their confidence, increased their independence and given them new skills. Surrey Choices has a commitment to wellbeing and this partnership with Surrey Heath Tree Wardens provides the added benefits of working alongside nature. Their volunteer organisation also seeks to inspire everyone in the community to achieve greater wellbeing.

Commenting on the day, Keith Chandler, Chief Finance and Resource Officer at Surrey Choices congratulated the team saying:”We are all very proud of what the Growth Team is achieving in partnership with the Surrey Heath Tree Wardens. It’s also great to hear from local people how this work is making a massive difference to the biodiversity of this local area.”