Cash boost to clear up Oak Tree area

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A conservation group hopes a £10,000 boost can help revive its dwindling membership, and make much-needed improvements to a Mansfield wildlife hotspot.

The Oak Tree Conservation Group has been successful in a securing lottery funding for the Oak Tree Heath.

Up to eight members of the group meet weekly to help keep the area, which is a local nature reserve and a site of scientific interest, as tidy as possible.

And now armed with the fresh cash injection, group leader Freda Jackson hopes it can provide a platform for greater things.

Freda said: “We were hopeful of getting the money, but until you get that letter, you don’t count your chickens!

“We did have a little hitch with the bank, but we sorted it, and have now received the money.

“We’re really pleased, it will be a big boost for the area.

“We’ve had small amount of money from local councillors and Veolia Environmental Services but we’ve never had anything like this before. ”

Freda says the cash will be spent on a new sign board, to print leaflets to keep the community aware of the on

going work on the site, and generally helping to keep the Heath tidy.

“We want to maintain the heath, make it more accessible for people and keep it free from litter - it needs a lot of work,” added Freda.

She hopes that more people will step forward to join the group, which has struggled with membership in recent years.

The group has even struggled to find a meeting place , and is run out of Freda’s home.

Ward councillor Vaughan Hopewell said: “It’s good news for the group and Oak Tree and it proves that people are working hard to improve the area.

“Mansfield District Council should be doing as much as possible to support friends groups like this because they save the council thousands of pounds each year.

“It’s nice to see something positive happening on Oak Tree , sometimes the publicity it gets is not deserved.”

Oak Tree Conservation Group works in partnership with Sherwood Forest Community Rangers, Sherwood Forest Trust and Mansfield District Council.

The role of the group is to raise awareness and importance of the local nature reserve as well as help manage the site.

The site which is known locally as ‘The Heathers’ or ‘Heath’ is a remaining fragment of the old Sherwood Forest.

The nature reserve lies at the heart of the estate’s extensive green space network which covers over 22 hectares.

Although potentially providing a great resource for the estate over the years it suffered from neglect and misuse.

Group leader Freda Jackson said: “It’s great to get people out in the open and make friends.

“It’s for the members’ benefit as well as the Heath.”

Anyone wanting to join the group can contact Freda Jackson on 07402 686491.