Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has received £249,400 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to ensure the continuation of work preserving and enhancing the natural environment across Wiltshire.

This includes funding towards over 35 existing nature reserves and a contribution towards the new Willows Care Farm, for which fundraising was interrupted by COVID-19 but still continues as further funds are needed.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has been working hard to ensure all its nature reserves remain open, free and safe to visit for staff, volunteers and visitors. The Trust has also had to cope with an increased amount of vandalism and fly-tipping across its sites. Staff across the Trust have worked tirelessly to ensure that essential activities continue to happen, from keeping reserves open to our Wellbeing and Education programmes adapting to more remote delivery.

Debbie Bentley, Trust and Grants Officer at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now start to look at the future for nature and wildlife in Wiltshire. Environmental charities are one of those that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and we are sincerely appreciative of the support we have received. I think there’s one thing a lot of people will now agree on, and that is the importance of our outdoor spaces both to nature and to our own wellbeing. We’re grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million was made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as Wiltshire Wildlife Trust during this uncertain time.”

Like Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, other charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This money is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.

Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, including heritage of local and national importance. By playing The National Lottery, people up and down the country are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund is now closed for applications. To find out more about how The National Heritage Emergency Fund is supporting the sector at this time please visit: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/responding-coronavirus-covid-19

To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes , visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response