Groups across the UK are kickstarting a grassroots response to the climate emergency and nature loss.
Nextdoor Nature is one of the latest initiatives in The Wildlife Trusts’ mission to inspire and support 1 in 4 people to take action for nature.
Fifty new Community Organisers have started in post from Scotland to the Isles of Scilly. They are enabling communities to take charge of creating and restoring wild places, improving nature connectedness for people and providing much-needed habitats for wildlife.
The projects, made possible with £5 million funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, include:
- More than a dozen community gardens – from The Larder in East Belfast to Corwen in North Wales, including in Exeter, Bristol, Doncaster, Newcastle and many more.
- Helping vulnerable groups take an active role in nature’s recovery in communities in Kent, Gloucestershire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Northumberland.
- Places of worship turning their green spaces over to benefit wildlife and people in Cornwall, Surrey and Nottinghamshire.
- Cross-generational projects bringing old and young together, sharing memories of nature, and igniting a fierce determination to bring about positive change for the next generation in Derby, Dorset, London, Sussex and Teesside.
- Regenerating urban centres to create habitats for wildlife and green areas for people to use and enjoy in Surrey, Warwickshire, Derby and Swansea.
- Community art and nature projects in Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, Suffolk and Radnorshire.
Nikki Williams, Director of Campaigning and Communities for The Wildlife Trusts, says:
“If people take action for nature, we can help our natural world to recover, which is critical for halting wildlife loss and tackling climate change. Nextdoor Nature focuses on responding to communities’ needs for improving nature where they live. The variety of work undertaken shows the many different ways people can help wildlife. This work is making a real difference for nature and communities around the UK and we hope it will inspire many more people to make meaningful changes in their own neighbourhoods.”
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, says:
“We have provided a £5 million grant to support this pioneering project because communities and nature are at the heart of it. It is so important that local communities take an active role in environmental projects and provide inspiration to others to get involved and care for our precious natural heritage. We wish all the organisers well and are delighted that their vital work will form part of a lasting legacy for the Jubilee year.”
2023 is a pivotal year for the Nextdoor Nature programme as it seeks to address inequalities of access to greenspace and nature. This is vital because 94% of people want to see increased biodiversity where they live, yet only 57% of adults in Britain live within a five-minute walk of green space. That figure falls to just 39% for people from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background.
The Government has committed to a new target that everyone should live within 15 minutes walk of a green or blue space. Spending time in nature is proven to benefit people’s mental and physical health, and evidence shows that people who connect with nature every day are more resilient, experience reduced social isolation and loneliness, and have better all-around health and happiness.
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