The new project - Discover Dobcroft - has been made possible by a £20,000 grant from Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving charity funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The reserve is located behind the Intact Centre, in Whitby Avenue, Ingol.
Denise Hartley, CEO of Intact, says: “The acquisition of this ‘nature reserve’ has been the focus of our attention over the last two years.
“This new project Discover Dobcroft, is set within an urban community and it aims to build emotional connection with nature through hands-on learning in the five-acre area of untouched wetland and woodland.
“An informal natural space on this former industrial site with a self-guided interactive nature trail will be created enabling the community to connect with nature and discover their city from a new perspective.
“The funding will pay for contractors to build paths and dipping platforms and information boards.
“Local volunteers, along with Intact staff, will organise sessions and workshops who will lead activities to build bird and bat boxes and create bird feeding stations whilst putting together resources needed for the nature trail.
“Future plans are to develop the forest schools approach to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment.
“Local people will get the opportunity to develop forestry, willow weaving and carpentry skills as well as being involved in the design and interpretation artwork for the nature trail.”
Intact (Ingol and Tanterton Community Trust), formerly INTAG - Ingol & Tanterton Action Group, was established in 1993 by residents concerned over issues of crime, vandalism, juvenile nuisance and lack of facilities for young people.
In 1995 INTAG received charitable status and became governed by a board of trustees.
In 1999 Denise was employed as a co-ordinator and following her success in leading the projects, she became chief executive officer. Her work gained her MBE status in 2014 for her outstanding achievements for services in the Ingol community in 2014.
Over the years the centre has been successful in securing funding for its projects, including a five-year Life Changes Lottery project to provide volunteering, training and employment support; Children in Need three-year funding for young people’s services; Transition Fund for two-year partnership project to develop Intact’s drop-in to provide quality advice and support and to train volunteers as advice champions; Arts Council funding for a range of dance activities for people of all ages and a three-year grant from the Big Lottery for new Changing Lives Together project. The centre has also achieved Investors in Volunteering Quality Mark.
Denise adds: “We are a vibrant team who are committed to making a positive difference. Intact provides many services, from support, information and signposting to community meetings, training, recreational activities and leisure facilities for residents of all ages.
“Intact’s primary purpose is to serve the Ingol and Tanterton neighbourhoods, and we are now able to offer more services and activities to more people across the city of Preston and surrounding areas. Our Mission Statement is ‘making a different by being there.’”
The centre hosts many recreational activities, including prize bingo, arts and crafts and a weekly 1-2-3 friendship group. It also focuses on health and wellbeing, with walking health, yoga and a drop in session for emotional support.