Fit for Work restoration of the footpath at Cowperstone near Stanage

Fit for Work restoration of the footpath at Cowperstone near Stanage

A rehabilitation scheme that offers work experience in a national park has scooped an award.

Fit for Work helps people improve their employment and life skills by working in the Peak District.

During their time in the Peak District national park, participants learn skills such as drystone walling, leading to NVQ certificates in countryside management.

The project won a £1,000 bursary towards future volunteering efforts in the UK National Parks Volunteer Awards.

Television presenter Julia Bradbury, one of the judges, said she was drawn to the Fit for Work project because it seeks to broaden the reach and influence that a national park can have.

She said: “This project engages in the most practical and worthwhile way with people who really need and will really benefit from outdoor activities and ‘landscape therapy’.

“Without this help and guidance the target group, coming from a mainly urban background, are unlikely to explore the delights of the Peak District. Remember that the Peak District – the first national park – was created as the ‘lung’ and catchment for three great northern conurbations.

“This project echoes the history of the Peak District perfectly.”

Dave Cramp, conservation volunteers officer with the Peak District national park, said: “It’s wonderful news that reflects the progress the members of the group made.

“They came to the conclusion that they needed to make changes in their life to move forward, and that is a very powerful thing to do. It was great to see them make such a positive contribution to their local national park.”

Lesley Roberts, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “I am particularly delighted that this project has been recognised. Volunteering is at the heart of everything we do and the success of Fit for Work shows that it is something we do really well.”

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