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Tesco Bags of Help for children’s nature experiences in South Oxfordshire

Wednesday 3rd May 2017

Oxfordshire nature education centre to benefit from Tesco Bags of HelpSchoolchildren visit Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre. Pic: Ric Mellis

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative to improve the education areas in the outdoor classrooms at the Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre for children and families. The Tesco Bags of Help initiative awards grants of up to £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – to environmental and greenspace projects.

From Sunday 7 May to Sunday 25 June shoppers at three Tesco stores across South Oxfordshire will be invited to collect blue tokens at the till when they pay for their shopping, and vote in-store for the group they want to receive the top grant. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

The Tesco stores where people can vote for the Wildlife Trust’s Education Bursary Programme are: Tesco Superstore in Didcot, Tesco Cholsey Express, near Wallingford and Tesco Cockcroft Express in Didcot.

The Tesco Bags of Help grant will support the Wildlife Trust’s Education Bursary Programme, which enables thousands of schoolchildren from across South Oxfordshire to discover nature and wildlife. Corinne Richards, manager of the Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre explains how the grant will help more people explore this wonderful site.

“The £1,000 grant will create a new bird feeding area just outside the large windows in our centre. This will enable children and families visiting us to watch the beautiful birds on our nature reserve closely without disturbing them. We would also buy new binoculars so that visitors can see wildlife further away on the reserve.

“With £2,000 we will create the new bird feeding area and install cameras to give people much closer views of wildlife around us. A nest box camera will give us a bird’s eye view into family life in the nest box. School groups and other regular visitors will be able to watch the fledglings being fed and as they prepare to leave the nest.

“We know that badgers and foxes live on our reserve, so a trail camera will give us valuable insight into their behaviour and feeding habits. Children are fascinated by wildlife at night, so the school groups will love watching the antics of nocturnal wildlife!

“The top grant of up to £4,000 would give us the chance to really make a big difference for the children on the Education Bursary Programme who visit the Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre. As well as the cameras and bird feeding area, we would create exciting ways for the children to learn about wildlife and discover nature on the reserve for themselves.”

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for May and June. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. Visit Tesco Bags of Help for more information.