A £1.1 million centre for training volunteers who work at nature reserves is to be built at Rutland Water.
The 558 sq m building, over two floors, will have the capacity to train some 350 volunteers enlisted with the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust.
The Volunteer Training Centre, which will be built adjacent to the water wildlife lagoon on the 1,000-acre nature reserve, will include multi-purpose meeting rooms, workshop, bunk room for residential courses, a mess and wash rooms.
The building will be used to train new volunteers in all aspects of land and visitor management and wildlife monitoring including coppicing, building fences, laying paths and working in shops and visitor centres.
A spokeswoman for the Trust said: “As one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in the UK, the reserve relies on volunteers to maintain and protect its habitats, helping to secure the future of thousands of species of plants and animals.
“The training centre is vital for sustainably managing the habitats and it will be somewhere that volunteers can learn how to protect and enhance the nature reserves and their precious wildlife for generations to come.”
Volunteers will be able to use the building for training in all aspects of land and visitor management, as well as wildlife monitoring and other skills.
The Trust also hopes a dedicated training centre will help to attract more volunteers.
The new building is being will be funded with an £800,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery and £100,000 from Anglian Water. The Trust has also launched a Wild Lives at Rutland Water Appeal to raise the remainder of the £170,000 needed to complete the centre.
Simon Bentley, director of Lincolnshire and Rutland Wildlife Trust said: “We want the reserve to meet its full potential and to do that we need to be able to recruit and train more volunteers to help maintain the site.
“The Volunteer Training Centre will provide fit-for-purpose facilities to allow us to do this. So it’s vital that we secure the funding needed to complete the building.”
Rutland Water Nature Reserve is the largest of the 34 similar sites managed by the Trust.
Each year more than 800,000 people visit the nature reserve which is home to the Rutland Osprey Project. Much of the work on the scheme, which saw the first ospreys breed in England for 150 years, is carried out by volunteers.
A dedicated website for the Wild Lives at Rutland Water Appeal is under construction. In the mean time anyone who wants to make a donation can call on 0116 262 9968.