An amphibian and reptile conservation charity is jumping for joy after bagging £12,000 of funding to develop a Fenland nature reserve.
Froglife scooped the cash from Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative after their project to improve local habitats at Rings End Nature Reserve was voted for by thousands of supermarket shoppers.
Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the second round of the initiative, which offered grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 to outdoor community projects – and Froglife was awarded the top amount.
Now work will begin on bringing the project to life at the nature reserve, just north of March.
The grant will pay for the creation of a network of ponds and ditches that will provide ideal habitat for frogs, toads and newts as well as a wealth of other wildlife, including water voles, dragonflies, aquatic invertebrates and wetland birds.
Froglife’s James McAdie said as well as habitat improvements, the grant will also pay for a programme of amphibian walks and workshops that will introduce “a whole new audience to finding and understanding these wonderful creatures”.
There will also be ‘memory benches’ that will have frog, toad and amphibians carved into them, where visitors can sit and watch wildlife at the nature reserve.
Mr McAdie added: “We are delighted to have secured this generous grant from the Tesco Bags of Help team and Groundwork UK.
“These funds coupled with the enthusiasm of the local volunteers will ensure that this fantastic nature reserve, and all of its wildlife, benefits tremendously.
“The habitat creations and restorations coupled with the public engagement activities will enhance an area already rich in wildlife and biodiversity.
“Froglife is excited to see the results that this generous amount will have on the native amphibians, reptiles and wildlife.”
Rob Phipps, from the Friends of Rings End Nature Reserve group, said: “The Friends are thrilled to receive this grant as it will not only increase the amount of wildlife on the reserve but also increase local people’s understanding and enjoyment of the nature reserve.”
Lindsey Crompton, head of community at Tesco, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success.
“We ‘ve been overwhelmed by the response of our customers and it’s been great to give people a say on how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”
Voting ran in stores from October 31 to November 13, with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check-out in store.
Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has awarded more than £24 million across 2,421 local projects.
Now even more projects are set to benefit as since December, votes have been cast and grants awarded on a monthly basis.
Funding is awarded to groups seeking to develop outdoor spaces in ways that will benefit their local community, and money will be available in smaller amounts, making it more accessible.