Sam, 16, is a young volunteer on Groundwork’s Future Proof Parks programme – an initiative that brings young people and Friends of Park groups together to preserve heritage in local parks.

“I’ve volunteered with Groundwork for a few years. I was first involved in the Our Bright Future – Green Leaders programme and I was keen to carry on working on community projects in my local area.

“I’ve really enjoyed being a part of North Blackpool Pond Trail Friends of Park group and meeting new people who have the same interests as me. Working on a natural heritage project has given me the opportunity to not only learn about the history of my local park, but also learn new skills, such as identifying butterflies, using hand tools and being taught how to plant trees.

“I have been working with the Friends of Park group to do conservation work and taking part in wildlife surveys in North Blackpool Pond Trail. I also joined the Young Peoples’ group on a Wednesday afternoon and we have done wildlife surveys and management work on a new woodland.

“Since working alongside the Friends of Group I feel more confident about working with and meeting new people. I have really enjoyed the volunteering and being outdoors, which I love.

“I feel so much more connected to be my local park. I have discovered new areas I have not visited before and I now understand why and how it is managed both for wildlife and people.

“I’m going to college in September and I have arranged to continue volunteering, on placement as part of my course. I plan to become a member of the Friends of Park group and get involved with arranging events for next – I can’t wait!”