These are some notes about the choices for a sustainable future for the Tree Warden Network on Wirral,
These options were resolved at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM,) on Thursday 27th July 2023, with option 2 selected. There were not sufficient numbers putting themselves forward for the committee, which the Tree Council advised made the local network unviable.
Consideration of options for Wirral Tree Warden Network
Option 2- Close the Current Network and The Tree Council set up a new Network with Wirral Council, through Nicola and her team ● The Tree Council has vast experience of setting up networks within Local Authorities and can offer reassurance that model that can work rather well. Wirral Council, through Nicola and her team are keen to support TWs in Wirral and ensure that the Network has a future should remaining an Independent Network not be viable. ● Wirral Council would take on responsibility for running the Network, recruiting and managing volunteer TWs, and supporting TW volunteers with their activities and training. ● The Tree Council propose that all existing TWs are moved over to the new Network, subject to approval by Wirral Council and any volunteering or safeguarding policies that need to be followed. ● Wirral Council would be responsible for covering the health and safety of volunteers including insurance and safeguarding. ● Wirral Council would be responsible for annual membership to The Tree Council’s TW Scheme. ● The Tree Warden Coordinator would usually be an officer from the local authority responsible for the TW Network, but there is no reason a volunteer from the group couldn’t be appointed by the local authority in this role working closely with officers at the council. ● A training programme alongside a list of activities and projects should be planned between the TW Coordinator and the volunteers - and again use TTC training materials as needed. The Tree Council suggest that a small core group of Tree Warden volunteers could be invited to join a small working group led by the new Coordinator at Wirral Council to help plan and organise volunteer training and events. ● The Tree Council are positive that if Wirral Tree Wardens are embedded in Nicola’s team, then TWs have an even greater opportunity, than they already do, to be fully engaged with the delivery of the Tree Strategy, as well as an opportunity to get involved in other plans, policies and strategies at the council including for example Nature Recovery plans. Wirral Tree Wardens already have a place on the Advisory Group for the Tree Strategy and there is no reason this should stop going forward if the Network is set up in the local authority. In fact at The Tree Council, we encourage local authority coordinatorsto engage their volunteer Tree Wardens with consultations on plans and policies that are connected to the treescape, including giving them a voice within the local authority in relation to tree and hedgerow protection, and for TW volunteers to work positively with their local authority and Tree Warden Coordinator. ● There would be no need for a separate Network bank account as the local authority would be responsible for income and expenditure related to the Tree Warden Network. A possible downside is that local authorities cannot apply for as wider a range of charitable grants as can voluntary groups, but the good news is that The Tree Council’s Community Grants are open to all Tree Warden Networks including those set up in Local Authorities, who are usually exempt from applying for our grants