Published Friday, 16 December 2016

Changing Perceptions has been commissioned by Waverley Borough Council to craft 30 special, hand-made bird boxes for the Phillips Memorial Park.

The Godalming High Street based social enterprise – part of The Meath Epilepsy Charity, which offers housing, care and support to people living with complex epilepsy and associated disabilities – has welcomed around 60 volunteers taking part in the build process, including people supported by the Meath, youngsters completing their Duke of Edinburgh Awards and people with mental health problems.

Once they are all completed, the boxes will be fixed to trees throughout the park in Godalming in the New Year.

The boxes are all crafted from soft wood, to RSPB standards and have been varnished with a natural look. They have different sized holes to attract a wide variety of birds.

Fiona Collier, Manager of Changing Perceptions, said: "Not only have the people we support, and the many volunteers involved, had some real fun making the boxes, but they are all gaining new skills and a great deal of self-confidence in  knowing that their work will be much admired in the park and hopefully, will attract many more birds into the area.

“People with a real interest in ornithology amongst our team will also be monitoring each of the boxes to see which birds take up residence, helping Waverley with important feedback regarding any increase in bird population following the park improvements and the popularity of the new boxes.”

Over the past five years The Phillips Memorial Park has been transformed by Waverley with the help of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund and the bird boxes are the latest addition to the Green Flag Award-winning site. The project has led to the restoration of the Grade II listed Memorial Cloister, new signage, improved signposting, new planting, enhanced biodiversity and access improvements.

Councillor Kevin Deanus, Portfolio Holder for Operational Services, said: “One of our aims as part of The Phillips Memorial Park Improvement Project was to increase volunteering opportunities at the park for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

“The bird box project has certainly done just that. I’m so impressed at how professional they look and by the dedication of the volunteers and everyone involved."