Big cat experts are coming to Stroud in March to give an illustrated talk. Author Rick Minter and wild cat watcher Frank Tunbridge from Gloucester will be discussing the evidence and implications for the existence of these beasts at St Laurence Church Hall on Thursday 15 March.

Big CatThe speakers will look at the likelihood of big cats living in the Stroud valleys and discuss the implications of feral cats for people and wildlife.

This talk and discussion has been set up by environmental charity Stroud Valleys Project. SVP chief executive Clare Mahdiyone explained: “ We know that there is a great deal of speculation about the existence of in big cats in Gloucestershire as people keep coming into our eco shop to ask us about them.

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Bat detecting, an orchid walk and a day of gardening were among the “green” prizes on offer by environmental charity Stroud Valleys Project who ran their first annual raffle in December.

Orchid Walk Voucher“We wanted to make sure that the prizes reflected the ethics of our charity – to promote sustainable lifestyles and to help people care for and learn about the environment,” said Katharine Hope, who organised the event.  "So in addition to an organic veg box, gardening items and a compost caddy we were thrilled when colleagues volunteered their own skills and knowledge to provide some unusual prizes. We would like to thank everyone who donated prizes and who bought tickets. We hope that the prize winners enjoy their personal walks with our resident bat and orchid experts!”

The day of gardening was won by Marion Mitchell from Stroud, the personal orchid walk by Andy Treacher from Stroud, and the bat detecting session by Kevin Gribble from Gloucester.

The raffle raised over £600 to support the work of the Stroud based charity.

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Stroud Valleys Project is looking for women to join a new group to learn about gardening by working on their allotment in Bisley Old Road. The environmental charity has been funded by Adult Education to run an introductory course for six weeks to help women build their confidence by working together in a group.

Women_only_Dec11_-_Working_togetherSVP project officer Ivi Szaboova said: “Latest research shows that more women are suffering mild to moderate mental health problems so we decided to offer a special course for women to help them tackle low self-esteem and combat stress. The six week course is starting in February 2012 and we are looking for 10 women to sign up.”

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Arlingham_hedge_planting_-_little_helperStroud Valleys Project are on a mission in Arlingham – after spending last summer surveying the area to map the local hedgerow network, SVP volunteers are now working hard to bridge the gaps by creating new hedgerows and gapping up old ones.

Hedges are the perfect habitat for songbirds, mammals and insects. They are especially important in Arlingham as they provide links for bats so they can get out from their roosts into their favourite foraging grounds (as well as picking up a tasty treat while flying above hedges).

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Rodborough_School_gardening_clubSchool gardening clubs supported by the ‘Get Growing’ team from environmental charity Stroud Valleys Project received special gardening tools this term to help them look after their gardens.  SVP project workers Emily Janke-Pearson and Tamsin Bent distributed a combination of child sized forks, spades, trowels, hand forks, watering cans, brooms, rakes, and hoes to 14 schools, directly benefitting an estimated 200 children.

This is the first year that SVP is working with 20 primary schools across the district setting up gardening clubs and encouraging pupils to grow and eat their own vegetables. Since the beginning of the autumn term Emily and Tamsin also held four ‘Groundforce’-style gardening days to build raised beds in Brimscombe, Cam Hopton and Bisley primary schools and at The Lindens Kindergarten in Stroud, plus running two compost training workshops with Amanda Godber from Down to Earth at her allotment.

Emily said, “The Get Growing project is gathering pace and we are so pleased that we have been able to donate the gardening tools.  So far we have helped to build 12 new vegetable gardens in local primary schools in our district.”

Tamsin said, “We are also supporting schools directly at their gardening clubs and will use these sessions to pilot the teaching resource pack we are developing.”


For more information on the Get Growing project please contact Emily Janke-Pearson or Tamsin Bent at Stroud Valleys Project on 01453 753358 or see


Prizes include a £30 gift voucher from the Eco Shop; a bottle of champagne; a basket of gardening goodies; a pledge for a day of gardening and the chance to have your own private Orchid Walk with Ivi!

growing2011Tickets are £1.00 each and will be on sale at the SVP Eco Shop, and at all SVP events until December 23rd.

ALL funds raised will go to support the work of Stroud Valleys Project.

Environmental charity Stroud Valleys Project is working on a project at Arundel Mill Pond thanks to a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

SVP project officer Nadine Smykatz-Kloss explained: “Arundel Mill Pond is a stunning lake hidden away in the trees near the canal. It’s a haven for kingfishers, grey wagtails, and Pipistrelle bats.

“Over the years, the sluice gate lock broke Arundel Mill Pond April11so mending the lock will help manage the water levels and encourage a wide variety of wildlife. We are hoping that people living nearby will join in to help us clear the area. We are also looking for volunteers to help build an otter holt on October 23.“

Other work includes cleaning the overgrown reeds and repairing the board walk, which was damaged by flooding. SVP hopes that the local community will also be involved in making and installing bird, bat, and insect boxes.

“We want to encourage more people to use the site by improving the footpath network from the lake to the surrounding countryside - to local beauty spots along the canal and to the nationally important limestone grasslands of Rodborough Common,“ said Nadine.

Anyone interested in building the otter holt should contact Nadine at Stroud Valleys Project on 01453 753358 as pre booking is essential. The cost is £5.00 per person or £10 per family. The money will go towards further improvements on the site.

A new recipe book will be launched at the Shambles Market on Saturday 10 September when the Stroud Valleys Project's Get Growing team are running a One Harvest event with local school children.

Recipe_book_sept11SVP Get Growing project joint co-ordinator Tamsin Bent said:” We met with Erica Tyror-Taylor the gardening club leader at Park Infant school, who is also a member of the Shambles market traders association. She suggested we team up with the local market traders to do a special children’s recipe book with the 20 schools we are working with.”

The Cotswold Chef, Rob Rees, will do a cookery demonstration between 12-1pm and the children will have a chance to be market traders for the day.  One thousand of the Get Growing - Get Cooking recipes books will be given away free at the Shambles market and 1,000 will go into the local schools who are taking part in the SVP gardening project.

Shambles trader Ron Cree said:” "It’s great to be involved with local schools, to encourage the next generation to support their local traders in the market, and for them to see how we work, and that there is an alternative to supermarkets. With them growing their own food, and then selling it, they will be able to see how a local market feeds the local community."

Unusual cuddly toys will be hidden in Stroud shop windows at the end of August forming a wildlife treasure trail competition for children organised by environmental charity Stroud Valleys Project.

Cuddly toysSVP Community Outreach Organiser, Katharine Hope explained, “As it is coming to the end of the school holidays we thought it would be a good idea to organise something for the children and came up with an English wildlife treasure hunt using  shop windows around the town.”

Katharine collected together a variety of soft toys representing wildlife, such as squirrels, badgers, and hedgehogs for shops to hide in their windows. The idea is that children are given a map of the town centre and go round looking for these stuffed toys in shop windows. Younger children will be asked to identify and name the animal, and older children will also be asked a wildlife related question.

The treasure hunt will start and finish at the SVP Eco Shop in Threadneedle Street. Children can collect a treasure trail map and questionnaire, complete it and return it to the eco shop. All correct entries will be put into a draw. The prize is a mini-bug house for insects to live in.

The Wildlife Treasure Hunt runs from Saturday 27 August until Saturday 3 Sept.

For more information please call Stroud Valleys Project on 01453 753358

Advice on worm bins and how to keep them will be available at Stroud Valleys Project eco shop on Saturday 6 August when Faith Tinley from the Wormery store explains all about composting food waste.

The Wormery Store is a family business based in Charfield, near Wotton-under-Edge and sells all kinds of worm bins and accessories to help turn raw and cooked food waste into useful compost.

wormerystarterbox“As our family grew and the daily waste from uneaten sandwiches and unwanted meals began to mount up in our wheelie bin we decided to buy our first worm bin.

“The more we used the worm bin the more we learnt and so we decided to start a business,” explained Faith.  “A wormery is simply and effective way of harnessing nature in a box. Worms have an amazing ability to turn organic material into a useful fertilizer.”

On average approximately 38% of our household waste is organic material. Food accounts for 19% of this waste and cooked food is more likely to be thrown away than raw. However, most of this waste can be diverted away from landfill into an environmentally sound wormery.

Faith will be at Stroud Valleys Eco shop from 10am.

For information on the Wormery Store see

Stroud Valleys Project is a limited company,
registered in England and Wales

Registered number: 2224016    

Registered charity number: 900107

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Stroud Valleys Project

8 Threadneedle Street




Tel: 01453 753358


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