A GROUP of conservation volunteers in south Shropshire has been given a royal seal of approval and now they are inviting more people to come and join them.

The members of the Churchyard Task Team are celebrating winning a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, for their work in managing burial grounds in a wildlife friendly way.

Since they began 11 years ago, the team has gone from strength to strength and has undertaken 30,000 hours of conservation work in local burial grounds.

Church yards are not only where people visit to remember loved ones but are also often havens for birds and wildlife because they are largely undisturbed.

The team, run by the national charity Caring for God’s Acre, based in Craven Arms, use traditional skills including scything and dry-stone wall building to preserve and enhance these unique sites.

“For many people burial grounds are the only locally accessible green space. However, their heritage value, and even their continuing presence, cannot be taken for granted,” said Harriet Carty, Director of the charity.

Inspite of its name Caring for God’s Acre is a secular organisation.

“We work nationally to support groups and individuals to investigate, care for, and enjoy these unique sites, ensuring they reflect the views and sensitivities of the local people, while at the same time making them special spaces for wildlife,” added Ms Carty.

Volunteers work in a variety of places undertaking a wide range of tasks.

The Queen’s Awards are national honours created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or find out more about what we do contact Prue on 01588 673041, info@cfga.org.uk or visit www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk