Donation from Southern Co-op will support new projects getting people into nature

The society has given £18,000 to Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

The Southern Co-operative has given £18,000 to the Wildlife Trust to help it find new ways to help local people enjoy and the benefit of nature on their doorstep.

The donation comes after the society nominated Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust as its chosen recipient through the national 2017 Pioneer Awards.

Projects helped by the funds, which will be developed over the coming months, include

  • Developing outdoors birthday parties as a way children and their families can get outdoors and explore their local nature reserves
  • Working with local health charities to research a nature therapy programme to help vulnerable people recover from addiction 
  • Creating a natural wellbeing programme for companies wanting to help their employees improve their health and experience at work

The work to develop these schemes will continue over the coming months.

Children visit the Swanwick Lakes wildlife sanctuary (Image: HIWWT)

Gemma Lacey, director of sustainability and communications at Southern Co-op, said: “We work jointly with the ten Wildlife Trusts in the Southern regions, from Somerset to Berkshire and across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent, to share ideas and inspire our colleagues, members and others to discover their wild side and green their neighbourhood.

“We are delighted to have donated over £63,000 through this partnership over the past eight years.”

Children at a pirate party hosted by the Wildlife Trust at Milton Locks, near Portsmouth

Becky O’Melia, education and engagement manager at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said: “Support like this from a local business is invaluable. This donation will really boost the amount of work we do with local communities and will hopefully lead to more people being able to get out in the natural environment with the Wildlife Trust in the future.”

The Pioneer Awards are run by Federal Retail Trading Services, a collective of co-operative retail societies who share their collective buying power. The awards are designed to recognise and reward organisations which support co-ops in pioneering a different way of doing business. Each organisation is able to nominate a local charity to receive a portion of the money raised by the group.

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