A Stockport-based volunteer for Sustrans has won the charity’s North of England award for outstanding commitment to volunteering.
Ian Barker is a retired engineer from Heaton Moor who enjoys cycling, walking and the outdoors. He is volunteer group coordinator for Sustrans’ Fallowfield Loop cycle and walking path and runs Thursday ‘Task Days’ to help keep the popular path clear for users and to manage the habitats along the route to protect and attract wildlife. He is also a volunteer on the Trans-Pennine Trail.
“I was surprised to get the award but as I watched the photos I realised how much the Trans-Pennine Trail volunteers in Stockport and the Fallowfield Loop Friends & volunteers had achieved over the last year, to enhance our sections of the National Cycle Network.
“The enjoyment comes from working and chatting with similar-minded volunteers from all walks of life and choosing tasks that you feel capable of or in trying new ones, while getting exercise. It’s great to see the improvements we've made to these green corridors benefit both people and wildlife and there are often appreciative comments from locals and passers-by.”
Abigail Pound, Sustrans Volunteer Coordinator for the North said:
“Ian has been a wonderful asset to the volunteer team. His regular ‘task days’ with local people along the Fallowfield Loop are helping to create a wildlife haven along this popular commuter route and build better links with local communities along the path. He’s always ready to help out in a whole variety of tasks in Sustrans work throughout the North, from scything to tree clearance to photography. We’re really grateful for the support of Ian and all the volunteers in the North, we couldn’t do our work without them.”
Sustrans has over 4,000 volunteers in the UK, with 798 in the North. There are many varied volunteer opportunities – including maintaining traffic-free sections on the National Cycle Network, to helping to conserve wildlife, to photography and videography skills.