We are incredibly excited that we have been awarded a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for our Wild Warley project. So many of our community helped come up with ideas and said that they would like to be involved, we wanted you to able to celebrate with us.

What is the project all about?

The Wild Warley project is about the wild side of Warley Woods - the plants, insects, birds and mammals that can be found in it. The learning will be two fold - firstly the Trust itself needs to fully understand the site in these terms and how to manage it and the other part will be our community learning about it too.

This is particularly important because most parks are managed almost purely with people in mind. That is pretty much the case for Warley Woods at the moment. It is nature reserves that are managed for wildlife. We want to make Warley Woods both - a park and a nature reserve for the benefit of both humans and wildlife.

We will be involving Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust in the early stages to help survey the site - this will tell us what we have (not what we think we might have) and we will be asking them to make recommendations on how to manage it.

We will then be able to appoint our own member of staff to help us put that plan into action and to bring as many local people into the project as possible - whether it will be to learn about something on a walk, or to learn nature conservation skills, or to learn how to survey the changes in nature in Warley Woods over future years.

This will be the first time in over 12 years that we will have a member of staff on site whose actual job it will be to get more people involved and engaged. All staff do that to a certain extent, but it isn't actually their role, or their skill set and none of our current staff are wildlife experts. It is this extra staff member that will really help make the project very different from anything we have been able to do before.

There will also be site improvements - like finally sorting out the wetland area in the Wilderness and others that are recommended by the Wildlife Trust. There will be more trails and leaflets and information signage too.

How long will this be going on for?

The project stared in May 2019, but it may seem a little quiet at first because things will be going on in the background like wildlife surveys and recruiting the member of staff. We hope they will start with us in the new year of 2020 and they will have a few months to get to grips with things before all the real engagement, training and physical improvement happens in 2020 and 2021.

How much money did we get?

Over three years the project will cost £123,000 of which the National Lottery Heritage Fund has given £97,000 and £15,000 has been funded by Ibstock Inovert Trust.

What will the money be spent on?

This grant is what is known as a restricted grant. It has been given very specifically for a list of things that we have said we want to do. We can only spend the money on those things - the member of staff, the surveys, the trails, the signage, the Wilderness water and working with the Wildlife Trust.

Does this mean our money worries are over?

Sadly not. The Community Trust still has to raise the same amount of money each year for general running costs as it always has done. That is about £800 a day. The grant will make very special things possible, but it will not pay for the salaries of other staff, for tree works or emptying the dog bins for example. So we still have to work just as hard reminding and asking members of the public to support the Trust to ensure we get all the basic important management and maintenance things done, as well as the really special Wild Warley project activities.

Thank you

We are confident that we got this grant award because we could show the National Lottery Heritage Fund that local people really wanted this to happen and were really ready to get involved. This was through the many people who contributed to our surveys and who offered ideas and engaged on facebook and through our nature special interest group. We had support from the Wildlife Trust, from Natural England, Brumbats and other naturalists who helped us demonstrate the Warley Woods is no ordinary park but has great untapped potential as well as great natural beauty.

We look forward to seeing you on the Wild Side.

Please remember, this funding can only be spent on this project.  The Community Trust still needs to raise £800 each and every day to fund the maintenance and management of Warley Woods.  Are you a supporter? If not, please become a supporter (member).  If you really want to help, when you sign up tick the box to make your donation "a regular gift".  This will save us saving you send you a renewal letter in 12 months time.  Thank you.

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