A community-based nature network
A new initiative in Stockport will see communities come together for wildlife.
The Greater Manchester Environment Fund (GMEF) has been successful with a bid to Green Recovery Challenge Fund (GRCF), which will support environmental NGOs to deliver key nature recovery projects. These projects will help to achieve key results against the Greater Manchester Local Nature Recovery Network Strategy.
As part of the successful GRCF bid, Cheshire Wildlife Trust will aim to address the crisis in nature in urban areas. The project focuses on urban wildlife in Stockport with particular emphasis on hedgehogs, swifts and pollinating insects, such as bumblebees.
The Wildlife Trust team will:
- Encouraging residents to create wildlife gardens
- Transform their neighbourhoods with hedgehog streets
- Make homes for swifts in and around their houses
- Create an iconic swift tower to put wildlife at the centre of the local community
- Identify five local nature champions
People need nature close to home. According to Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement of the Natural Environment survey, between 2009 and 2019, two out of three visits to the natural environment were taken within two miles of home. Clear inequalities with access to nature also exist between different age, ethnic and socio-economic groups, and those with different states of health, which is something the Wild Stockport project aims to address.
In Stockport there are gardens and green spaces which are managed intensely but not in a way that is good for our natural heritage. A Wildlife Trusts consultation showed that there is appetite within the local community for this to change, with more than 40 people from all walks of life expressing an interesting in being part of this project. This project will support local households, schools and businesses to bring wildlife back to their neighbourhoods and gives a chance for a wider range of people to experience nature and gain a greater sense of wellbeing as a result.
These developments will lead to improvements to the physical state of the natural environment, which will be richer in wild plants and animals. The movement of hedgehogs between gardens will be supported, local people will be creating nesting opportunities for swift and well planned and maintained wildlife friendly garden in homes and businesses will support much larger numbers of pollinating insects thus supporting a greater biodiversity.