The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust gets a helping hand from the National Lottery. Ann Evans has the details.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has had to leave nature reserves with little or no management for nearly four months. Visitors Centres at Brandon Marsh near Coventry and at Parkridge, Solihull were closed to visitors, and all events, volunteer activities and training courses had to be cancelled.
In the equivalent period from April to the end of July in 2019, the Trust had 9,450 volunteer hours contributed, which is the equivalent of 1,350 volunteer days. The figure for this period in 2020, due to Covid-19, is 0.
The good news is that Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has received £49,700 National Lottery support to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on heritage. The funding will allow the Trust to care for its nature reserves across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull and to make adaptations to allow more people to enjoy their visitor centres.
Gina Rowe, Living Landscapes Manager at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now do work on our nature reserves to bring them back to good condition, including overdue hay meadow cuts and scrub control, and to install support measures to welcome back visitors and to enable social distancing.
“We plan to install a large awning over part of our courtyard to give cover for visitors and for training sessions. The funds will support us to plan ahead for all the changes that are needed to our work, due to Covid 19, and to film tours around our nature reserves to use online, especially for those who cannot visit us as yet.
“We’re very grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a real lifeline to us and for Warwickshire’s natural heritage, and is for everyone’s benefit. The funding will help to ensure that our Trust can adapt to the situation and develop new ways to sustain itself into the future.”
The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. In total across the heritage sector, £50 million was made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need. The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as Warwickshire Wildlife Trust during this uncertain time.”