My View: Helen Hodgkinson

CA-WN gives a Councillor the space to speak about climate action

My View: Helen Hodgkinson

CA-WN gives a Parish Councillor in Wootton the space to speak about climate action - Community Spirit

Becoming a Parish Councillor a year ago was an unexpected appointment for me, and one that I am very grateful for. I love being involved in the community and it’s been a real eye opener to experience the spectrum of activities that the Parish is responsible for.

One of my key areas of focus has been on the public open spaces within our community with an emphasis on protecting and enhancing our natural environment. This is to create beautiful spaces that our residents can enjoy but also, and quite possibly more importantly, so that we ensure there is a rich and diverse habitat to support wildlife and nature, which we are entirely dependant on for our own existence.

Whatever your passion, connecting with like minded people, as well as creating a space or platform so that people can easily connect with you, is essential.  We formed a local community group called Wild About Wootton, which has just over 100 members.  We have a Facebook group where we share pictures of our natural environment within the open Parish boundaries and in our back gardens, and we share details of community events that people are welcome to get involved in.

For our outdoor projects we tend to plan by the seasons and for the 2021/2022 Autumn/Winter season we held five hedgerow and tree planting events and planted close to 1,000 saplings during that time. All of the saplings were donated either by The Woodland Trust or Tree Appeal and they were planted by our volunteers.

More recently we have created our first Wildflower verge using 300 plantlets supplied by the fabulous team at Blisworth Wildflower Nursery, to create a rich habitat for our declining pollinator populations.

Being completely candid, Climate Anxiety is a very real thing for me. I worry terribly about the damage that we have and continue to inflict on our natural environment.  But taking action and taking small steps to create positive change is my way of trying to dissipate that feeling.

The global climate and nature crisis can feel very overwhelming at times and knowing where to start can be a bit challenging.  So, starting on your doorstep is a great place.  You can actively make a real difference and by speaking up and creating change you will immediately identify others who feel the same way as you.

In WNC, there are 176 Parish Councils.  Each one of those communities has an opportunity to take ownership for the environment and future that they want to create.  And if we all focus on positively influencing what happens within our immediate areas, we can create a rapid ripple effect of inspiring change.

Speaking up can sometimes feel a bit scary but I promise you that when you do, you will find people who think and feel like you, and support what you’re trying to achieve.  And connecting with your local community is such a fulfilling experience!

If there is something that you’d like to see happen within your community to protect and enhance the natural environment, or to address climate change, drop a note to one of your local Parish Councillors; they’d love to hear from you!