'Literally saved us' - New van helps secure conservation group's future

Volunteers at the Fakenham Area Conservation Team receive their new van from Norfolk Commercials aft

Volunteers at the Fakenham Area Conservation Team receive their new van from Norfolk Commercials after fundraising meant they could stay on the road. (L- R) Tracey Yardley, secretary, Christopher Yardley, Geoff Fletcher, chairman, Richard McCormack, director of Norfolk Commercials - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A conservation team believes its new van means it can get on with vital work - and has saved its future.

Fakenham Area Conservation Team (FACT) were handed the keys to its new van from Norfolk Commercials in Dereham on April 25 after securing funding grants. The van is vital to completing its numerous jobs across the area, allowing them to transport machinery to and from the sites they manage.

The group take part in cutting vegetation and managing habitats for different landowners - such as Fakenham Town Council, Melton Constable Trust (Norfolk orbital railway), North Norfolk District Council, and The Raynham Estate.

The van, which is used to take items such as brush cutters and a large powered mower, was last upgraded 15 years ago.

Chris Yardley, one of the leaders of FACT, said before they knew if they could get the new vehicle, the group feared for its future.

Volunteers at the Fakenham Area Conservation Team receive their new van from Norfolk Commercials aft

Volunteers at the Fakenham Area Conservation Team receive their new van from Norfolk Commercials after fundraising meant they could stay on the road. Christopher Yardley, volunteer - Credit: Sonya Duncan

“It had been thought that with their old van, which had come to the end of its life, we might have to pack up our efforts, but a concerted effort by Tracey Yardley, who helped to secure funding from National Lottery, Geoffrey Watling Trust and the Norfolk Community Trust,” he said.

“We have been anticipating getting a van for some time but it had been a struggle to find something suitable so we were really delighted to actually find one we could afford and which was so good - it is the ideal van for us and has quite literally saved our group.”

Most Read

Mr Yardley works as a landscape architect for the team. 

Volunteers at the Fakenham Area Conservation Team receive their new van from Norfolk Commercials aft

Volunteers at the Fakenham Area Conservation Team receive their new van from Norfolk Commercials after fundraising meant they could stay on the road. L-r Tracey Yardley, secretary, Christopher Yardley, Richard McCormack, director of Norfolk Commercials and Geoff Fletcher, chairman. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

FACT has around ten active members which take part in a number of projects across the Fakenham area.

They also manage wildflower areas, complete litter picks, manage wildlife at Sculthorpe church and plant trees.

Mr Yardley, who has been involved with the group for 30 years, said the group knew it needed the van after being told it would not be economical to take it through another MOT.

Now they are looking ahead to a bright future, with plenty of work to come.

“We are looking forward to developing more projects with our existing partners and we have been having some very good discussions with North Norfolk District Council to look at more tree planting and other events," he added.