National Lottery Heritage Fund grant provides vital support in challenging times


A generous and far-sighted grant from the Heritage Emergency fund has enabled us to adapt across the breadth of our activities in a challenging year

A generous and far-sighted grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund has provided much-needed support across the breadth of our activities in a challenging year. Made possible by National Lottery players, the grant was awarded through the Heritage Emergency Fund and has enabled us to quickly adapt our activities affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The grant has made a real difference to our frontline activities, providing the equipment that enabled the COVID-safe re-opening of our education centres and cafés. Jo Thrussell at the Nature Discovery Centre reports:

“The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant has allowed us to continue operating our takeaway café at the NDC. We have sourced a protective screen to enclose our serving hatch, allowing our staff and customers to converse safely, as well as patio screens to protect the customers from the wind and rain as they are enjoying their cappuccinos. This has ensured steady customer numbers throughout the autumn, even when the weather has been troublesome! We are massively grateful to the Heritage Emergency Fund for their support during this difficult period.”

Screens in place at the NDC

Protective screens at the NDC cafe by Jo Thrussell

We have been able to repair damage to our car parks caused by increased usage during lockdown, allowing these sites to remain open as a valuable resource for local communities.

The grant has also funded urgent conservation work, such as heathland management and fencing, needed to maintain several of our sites as wildlife-rich habitats. We have also purchased new sets of hand tools which will enable our volunteers to keep up vital conservation work through the winter while complying with new COVID safety guidelines.

We are also developing exciting new digital initiatives to help maintain a connection to nature with our audiences via digital channels. Projects in development include Wild Live sessions beaming into schools virtually, video reserve tours and warden interviews, and a high-definition webcam at College Lake, going live in early 2021.

Nature Tots using new kits outside

Nature Tots using new individual kits funded by the grant at socially-distanced outdoor sessions. Photo by Charlotte Evetts

A third of the UK’s Wildlife Trusts have been helped by over £1million in emergency National Lottery grants during the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts said: “Wildlife Trusts are facing an unprecedented challenge, coronavirus has impacted finances and put conservation work on hold, at the very time when people are seeking solace in nature to help them through these difficult times.

“We are hugely grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for giving a total of over £1m from their emergency fund to help fifteen Wildlife Trusts who have been badly affected. Local nature reserves are especially important to communities, and it’s particularly welcome and appropriate that the National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting Trusts in this way. The emergency grant scheme means these Trusts have been able to continue to work for wildlife, and nature’s recovery.

“The National Lottery Heritage Fund has always been an important and much valued supporter of The Wildlife Trusts, helping to fund hundreds of projects, enabling thousands of people to enjoy wildlife and nature, with all the benefits that brings.”



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