Lottery fund gives Dorset Wildlife Trust their big break

Dorset Wildlife Trust have been granted a sum of almost £90,000 to develop plans for their Wildlink Project over the next two years.

The Wildlink Project will manage the links between various wildlife and green areas such as the New Forest National Park and the Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area, making them more accessible to the public.

Laura Bates, Communications Manager of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the scheme that granted the money, said: “We gave them £85,900 to start developing their plans, we liked the plan they proposed, we know the Heritage merit of this project.”

The first step to bringing the Wildlink Project to life will be the purchase of 581 hectares of land, including internationally important heathland, saltmarsh, ancient woodland, grassland, and includes part of Upton Heath, Ferndown and Parley Commons, and Holes and Lytchett Bays.

But Dorset Wildlife Trust will need further funding to complete the project.

In order to raise a remaining £500,000, an appeal will be launched in spring for the second stage of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Brian Bleese, Director of Operations and Development at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “This is the first time that such a group has come together for the greater good of the whole area and, thanks to this funding, the partnership will be the core of the even more ambitious aim of benefiting all the land that surrounds these sites, with increased co-operation and increased involvement by local people in looking after and discovering their natural heritage.”

“We are committed to improving access for people to their fantastic natural heritage and securing it for future generations”, he added.

The trust has already raised funds to back their plans up, and estimates the project will cost £4.3m.

Main image by Thorbard on Flickr.

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