The Don Catchment Rivers Trust (DCRT), the organisation which protects and restores rivers across the South Yorkshire region, is celebrating after receiving £10,000 from the Coalfields Community Investment Programme.

The funding, which is the maximum grant available from the Coalfields Community Investment Programme, will allow the DCRT to train local volunteers who will work with the charity over the next year, while also learning new skills and improving their mental wellbeing.

On completion of their induction and training, volunteers will take an active role in the local community, working in groups to improve the rivers network, collecting rubbish and litter and repairing pathways.

These activities will help to improve the environment along the Rother Valley’s waterways and create spaces which local residents can enjoy.

Participants will also take part in the ‘Citizens Science Course’, where they will be able to work alongside the DCRT, helping to monitor a remeandering project the DCRT has planned for the Rother as well as analysing the general health of the river, which only a few decades ago was one of the most polluted rivers in Europe.

Ed Shaw, Director at Don Catchment Rivers Trust, comments: “Being able to recruit and train a number of volunteers will mean that we can make a real difference to the local rivers and ensure that they are protected and can be enjoyed both now and in the future.”

“As well as being able to learn transferable skills, which will be valuable as volunteers go on to look for employment, getting involved also helps to improve the mental wellbeing of those that participate as they gain a real sense of satisfaction from taking part and making a difference.”

Stephen Abson, Development Manager (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, comments: “The Don Catchment Rivers Trust do some incredible work as they help to transform forgotten and underused spaces across the Rother Valley, converting them into places which people are able to enjoy with friends and family.”

“The Coalfields Community Investment Programme allows us to work with organisations, such as the Don Catchment Rivers Trust, that can help people improve their skills and address their mental wellbeing which may have been holding them back from entering into work.”

As the organisation has become a member of Coalfield Community Investment Programme it will continue to be supported by the Trust and will have access to bespoke practical support including access to resources and services such as help with third-party funding applications and bid-writing, to tips on effective promotion and marketing.