Project to encourage responsible dog walking at Carlton Marshes awarded Bags of Help funding

Thursday 30th March 2017

A project to promote responsible dog walking on a Suffolk Wildlife Trust nature reserve has been supported by the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of up to £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to thousands of local community projects every year.

Millions of shoppers voted in stores up and down the country. And it can now be revealed that the Trust’s Dog Ambassadors for the Broads has been awarded £2,400.

The project will see the recruitment of volunteers who will receive support from Happy Paws Training Society and dog behaviour expert Phil Brown to become dog ambassadors.

They, with their pet, will then be able to explain and demonstrate good practice dog control within a conservation space.

Broads Warden Matt Gooch said the initiative was a response to a small minority of dog owners who let their pets off lead, which has resulted in disturbance to livestock and ground-nesting birds and even the death of deer.

“This campaign is part of our efforts to make sure Carlton Marshes nature reserve and our other conservation spaces remain fantastic places for people and wildlife. Unfortunately over the last 18 months we have repeatedly seen dogs being allowed to run off lead – running into school parties, chasing livestock used to manage the reserve and causing disturbance to ground-nesting birds such as meadow pipit and skylark – not to mention the nuisance of dog mess on paths.”

He added: “We hope Dog Ambassadors for the Broads will help some people understand the importance of responsible dog ownership.”

Lindsey Crompton, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from our customers. The great thing about Bags of Help is that local people are invited to decide how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”

Voting ran in stores throughout January with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check-out.

Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has awarded more than £27 million across more than 3,500 local projects.

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Bags of Help continues to fund thousands of projects across the UK. We want to ensure that the money raised benefits as many local people in as many different places as possible so we’ve extended the range of groups and projects that we can support.”

Following a public consultation that received no objections, from March 31 Carlton Marshes will also be the subject of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

The order, which is issued by Waveney District Council, can be used to enforce the requirement to have dogs on leads, the clearing up of dogs mess along with upholding access restrictions on the Sprats Water part of the reserve.

The PSPO will be sign posted on the ground at all entrance points and can be authorised by Trust staff and volunteer wardens. Fines of £80 will be issued by Waveney District Council, with non-payment possibly leading to a court summons.

The Trust is running some drop-in events at Carlton Marshes should people want to talk about the Dog Ambassadors project or the PSPO.

They will be held on:

April 26 – 5pm to 7pm
April 29 and 30 – 1pm to 2pm
May 2 – 5pm to 7pm