A building for people and wildlife

In July 2015 Rutland Water Nature Reserve’s Volunteer Training Centre officially opened its doors. Thanks to the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Anglian Water and many other amazing donors, we now have everything we need to support and train volunteers in conservation, countryside and heritage skills with ease.

VTC Opening Volunteers join Sir David Attenborough as he cuts the ribbon (Eric Renno)

The new £1.1m Volunteer Training Centre will serve as the hub of an active, supportive community in which volunteers of all ages and backgrounds can participate and ensure they reach their full natural potential for both wildlife and people. We’ll now be able to deliver a variety of learning and volunteering activities; all designed to make a real difference to our natural heritage and promote skill sharing between people from all walks of life. As well as nurturing skills within our existing volunteer base, we hope to connect with new audiences – the volunteers of the future, by expanding our outreach, events and educational work.

The building was designed by Market Harborough-based Corporate Architecture to sit comfortably and sympathetically in its natural setting within Rutland Water Nature Reserve. It incorporates important features to minimise its environmental impact. These include locally sourced construction materials, maximum use of natural light, a high level of insulation and low energy fittings, a living sedum roof and gabions filled with local stone, which will insulate the building and provide a rich variety of wildlife micro-habitats including a home for birds, bats and invertebrates.

“This wonderful new building will enable skilled volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to protect and conserve the rich diversity of wildlife at Rutland Water and other important nature reserves into the future. It will enable them to work in a supportive environment and I am sure that they will derive immense pleasure and enjoyment from doing so.”

Sir David Attenborough

Patron of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust

“Since I recruited our first volunteer way back in 1975, all have since have played an integral role at the reserve. Over the past 25 years, volunteers have dedicated an incredible 680,000 hours! Quite clearly, it just wouldn’t be the place it is today without them.”

Tim Appleton

Rutland Water Nature Reserve Manager and Birdfair Co-Founder

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