National Lottery Heritage Fund throws lifeline of over £1 million to Wildlife Trusts during Covid-19

Life is looking up for weasels, woodpeckers and thousands of other wildlife species, as 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.

The 15 trusts look after 652 nature reserves across England and Wales, and Heritage Emergency Fund grants of £1.19m have helped to keep them open throughout lockdown, providing vital safe spaces for people to get outdoors, exercise and enjoy nature. It has also funded salaries for key staff such as wardens, helped to protect rare and ‘at risk’ wildlife, and supported the Trusts in carrying out further fundraising and planning for the future.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “This significant support reflects our belief that the UK needs a strong network of wildlife and nature charities, as they are at the forefront of helping us to invest in habitat and species conservation.  It is their boots on the ground, skills, expert knowledge and people engagement skills that help us ensure National Lottery players’ money really makes a critical difference for people and nature. Wildlife Trusts have been at the forefront of showing how nature can improve people’s quality of life during lockdown.”

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.”

Thanks to recent funding from @TNLUK we have been able to keep our reserves staff working during this difficult time. They have been keeping our reserves safe, clean and tidy @HeritageFundUK #thankstoyou  

The full list of Wildlife Trusts that have received emergency funding are:

Avon Wildlife Trust (£250,000)

Cornwall Wildlife Trust (£46,300)

Devon Wildlife Trust (£159,100)

Dorset Wildlife Trust (£138,000)

Durham Wildlife Trust (£45,700)

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (£48,800)

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (£31,000)

Northumberland Wildlife Trust (19,200)

Lancashire Wildlife Trust (£35,600)

North Wales Wildlife Trust (45,500)

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (184,900)

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (£49,700)

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (£50,000)

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country (£41,300)

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (£48,000)

The Heritage Emergency Fund has also supported several independent wildlife charities, including The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, The Froglife Trust and Organisation Cetacea.

The £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund was set up at speed in late April to help the UK’s heritage survive the significant impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, 444 applications funded worth over £20.5m have now been awarded, addressing immediate pressures for those most in need. Organisations have until the end of July to apply.