Who are we?
Harlow Conservation Volunteers (HCV) is a group of volunteers who work for
nature conservation in and around Harlow. Our aim is to improve the environment
for wildlife, nature conservation, and recreation and to improve public access
to the countryside.
HCV was founded in 1985 with the assistance of
Harlow District Council and
TCV - The Conservation Volunteers (the new name of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers). We are affiliated as a community group to TCV.
Legally HCV is an unincorporated charitable association (club/society) governed by the group's constitution:
HCV Constitution (24kbyte).
What do we do?
We do many conservation and management tasks including:
- Managing trees, woodlands and hedgerows
- Clearing streams and ponds
- Reed bed, meadow, and heathland management
- Building fences and hides
- Improving and maintaining footpaths.
Of course, the tasks we do depend on the time of year. During the autumn and
winter work includes coppicing, pollarding, hedge-laying, and tree planting.
During the spring and summer we do wild flower planting, scrub control,
build bridges, steps, and boardwalks, and even make charcoal.
We work primarily on nature reserves and public open spaces, but also
occasionally on privately owned land.
To get a better idea of what we do, have a look at the photo gallery.
To find out more about the sites we work on go to the sites section.
Tasks are usually arranged every fortnight on a Sunday. They last the entire
day but your help will be valued for whatever time you can spare.
The task leader will give you training in work techniques and safety. We provide
appropriate tools, protective gear, and materials. The work is
enjoyable and we have regular breaks for tea and a chat!
You will learn new skills and meet people willing to share their knowledge.
You will see new places and make a very important contribution towards
the conservation of our natural heritage. Hopefully, you will also have some fun
and make new friends.
The group has third party liability insurance for volunteers on task.
Who can help?
The group involves people of all ages in its practical work. However, if
you are between 16 and 18 years old your parent or guardian must sign a consent form – please contact the
HCV Secretary. You can download a consent form from the resources page.
Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult who must be responsible for them at all times.
No prior experience is required.
What you will need
Please bring warm clothes, boots or wellies, and waterproofs. Tea and
coffee are provided but you will need a mug and a packed lunch.
The group meets on site, and directions can be found in the task
sent regularly to all volunteers. Many of the tasks are within a short cycle
ride of much of Harlow.
New volunteers are always welcome.
For detailed policies on health and safety, child protection, equal opportunites, and volunteer expenses see the Policies page.
The group has regular evening meetings to discuss future work which all
volunteers may attend. Tasks are quite sociable in themselves, but occasional
social get-togethers are arranged such as a barbecue, a walk, or Christmas lunch.
Whom We Work For
We mainly work for public bodies and wildlife charities. The group is
involved with a number of regular sites and projects, including
Parndon Wood Nature Reserve
which is owned and managed by Harlow Council.
We do also carry out some conservation work for private landowners.
We welcome enquiries about potential new projects.
The group's main expertise is getting practical work done with volunteers. Although we
may be able to help, conservation advice is best sought from Harlow's
who organises the WildSpace! programme, or
from Essex Wildlife Trust for elsewhere in Essex.
HCV is a charitable and non-profit making organisation. It is run entirely by volunteers and has no paid staff. The group's turnover is below the Charity Commission's threshold for it to be registered as a charity.
The group receives no regular grant funding. The group has received grants in the past but these have been in the main for capital rather than revenue. Regular revenue costs include public liability insurance, training, tool repair and maintenence, communications, and volunteer expenses. From time to time volunteers, in addition to giving their time on conservation tasks, do help raise funds for the group; however the bulk of revenue funding comes from small charges made to organisations that we work for ("user-bodies"). Charges can be on the basis of either a flat group day rate or a per volunteer day rate.
See the accounts page for the organisation's published annual accounts.
Working With Other Bodies
HCV takes part in the
Harlow Biodiversity partnership,
which is intended to be a
partnership between Harlow Council and local conservation
organizations and volunteers.
HCV has a close working relationship with sister organisation Harlow Wildlife Projects which seeks to secure funds for projects on nature reserves and wildlife sites.
HCV is an affiliated member of Harlow Voluntary Sector Forum organised by Voluntary Action Epping Forest in association with Rainbow Services.
HCV does not engage in political activity.