Truncheon swapped for a trowel by former police constable


Veritie Turner is helping more people get involved with Wild Banbury

A former police constable has swapped her truncheon for a trowel as the new head of environmental action group Wild Banbury.

After years cleaning up the streets as a Thames Valley Police officer, Veritie Turner is now helping people get their hands dirty to connect with nature.

The mum-of-two says she’s been inundated with calls from residents wanting to get involved, especially young people.   Her challenge now is finding more spaces and projects in the town where they can get stuck in – no matter how small.     At St Mary’s Church a space of no more than 7ft by 3ft is set to be transformed into a wildlife garden this year.

Veritie spent ten years with Thames Valley Police and then spells as a fitness instructor and teaching assistant before she joined the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust at the end of 2022.

She said: “I’ve always had massive interest in wildlife and nature, and I really wanted to make that passion part of my work. With all the skills I’ve learnt working in the community, this was the perfect role.”

The Wild Banbury project was started by the Wildlife Trust more than 10 years ago. Supported by Banbury Town Council and funded by Cherwell District Council for the past six years, it aims to help residents reconnect with nature for the good of people and wildlife.

Cherwell District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Healthy Communities, councillor Phil Chapman, said: “The Wild Banbury Project has achieved so much over the last decade.   It has encouraged people to help wildlife through protecting and improving habitats.

“The project has also provided opportunities for residents of the district to have a greater connection with nature, something that the council is keen to support as it has a well-evidenced positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing.”

As well as having started a regular volunteer group that does practical conservation work on council-owned land, Wild Banbury also puts on events to help people connect with wildlife and assists projects like the Bridge Street Community Garden.

The latest Wild Banbury events which people can join include a series of free Spring Wellbeing Walks through the green parts of Banbury.   The aim is to highlight the surprising amount of wildlife in the town. They are being held on Thursday April 13 and Sunday April 23.

Veritie is also organising bat walks around Banbury in April and May, with full details on the Wild Banbury website.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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