Knettishall Heath and Sandlings projects awarded £20,000 raised from Tesco carrier bag charge

Wednesday 7th December 2016

Samantha Gay at Knettishall Heath

We are delighted to announce that projects at two Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserves have received a combined total of £20,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the second round of its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local outdoor community projects.

Following voting in Tesco stores across the county, a grant of £10,000 was awarded to projects at Knettishall Heath and £10,000 to the Sandlings.

At Knettishall, the Bags of Help initiative will see the building of a shelter to allow visitors and school groups to get out of the sun or rain. The Trust will also now be able to install motorcycle gates to prevent paths and tracks being damaged by illegal access.

Samantha Gay, the Trust’s Knettishall Ranger said she was “delighted” by the result of the public vote. She added: “Knettishall Heath is an amazing wildlife reserve, with a tapestry of ancient furzy heath, woodland, meadows and beautiful meandering river. As a result it is a really popular site for schools and groups who want to learn more about these habitats and the rare Breckland species they support. 

“A new shelter means visitors can stay that much longer, whether they are studying or just coming for a walk in one of Suffolk’s wildest spots. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible”

Ben Calvesbert, the Trust’s Sandlings Warden, said the £10,000 awarded by the Tesco-backed theme would support a vital programme of conservation grazing at Sutton & Hollesley Commons – allowing the Trust to purchase sheep and a livestock trailer.

Ben said: “The heaths at Sutton & Hollesley represent one of the largest areas of remaining Sandling heathland and using rare breed sheep to remove bracken and scrub are vital for its protection. Thanks to the public’s support we are now able to increase the size of our flock and purchase a trailer to transport them in.”

Lindsey Crompton, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success. She added: “We 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 31 October to 13 November – 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.

Tesco estimates that around six million votes were cast in stores up and down the UK.

Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has awarded more than £24m across 2,421 local projects. From 1 December, customers will be able to vote for local groups all year round, every time they shop and grants will be awarded monthly – meaning that thousands more projects will benefit from the scheme.

Funding will now be awarded to groups who are seeking to use and develop outdoor spaces in ways that will benefit their local community, and money will be available in smaller amounts, making it more accessible.

Customers will get the chance to vote for three different groups each month. At the end of each month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Groundwork’s national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “It’s just the beginning for Bags of Help and we’re really excited about the future.  The scheme will be permanently open for applications, and as grants can now be used for not just the development of, but also for the use of local outdoor spaces, we expect even more groups will now have the chance to benefit.

“It’s projects like these that really help to capture the public’s imagination by illustrating what can be achieved when communities are given the support and the encouragement they need to create better places where they live.”