- Durham OnAir
Free Family Days at Blaydon Nature Reserve
Families in Gateshead are being given the chance to get closer to nature
and help improve their local environment thanks to a new initiative
being funded by a four-figure grant from the Newcastle Building Society
Community Fund at the Community Foundation.
Durham Wildlife Trust is holding a series of free family days at the
Shibdon Pond Nature Reserve in Blaydon which are designed to get
different generations across the local community involved with looking
after and learning more about the pond, reed beds and woodland meadows
that make up the Reserve.
The two-hour Green Connections sessions will run through the year and
will cover a variety of different activities, including woodland
coppicing, footpath work and scything the meadows.
Nature events including birdwatching and butterfly spotting will also
take place through the year, with the Trust providing all the equipment
needed for families to take part.
A £3,000 grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the
Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, which offers grants
to charities and community groups located in or around the communities
served by the Society's branch network, is being used to fund the
Durham Wildlife Trust owns and manages 50 nature reserves across County
Durham, Darlington, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland, and works
to provide special places for people, wildlife and future generations.
It runs a range of regular events and activities across all its
locations, including Wildlife Watch sessions for 5–11 year-olds, a Beach
Rangers group for teenagers and even outdoor Wild Yoga classes.
Mandy Bell, Conservation Project Officer at Durham Wildlife Trust, says:
“Shibdon Pond Nature Reserve is a real green haven in a predominantly
urban area which we know is well used and highly valued by the local
“We ran a test event which was very successful and we’re now looking to
get as many local families coming down to the Reserve as we can to enjoy
what it offers and to help us keep it in the best possible condition.
“By taking part, families will get the chance to spend more time being
active together, can make new friends and will see how the work they’re
doing is helping to improve the natural space in their community.
“We’ll provide all the equipment and tools that people need to take
part, as well as the expertise to guide them in the different tasks that
they’ll be completing.
“We saw the need and opportunity to bring this project idea to life, but
without Newcastle Building Society’s help, we simply wouldn’t have been
able to make it happen, so we’re extremely grateful for their support.”
Paul Edwards, Head of Enterprise Risk at Newcastle Building Society, who
recently visited the charity, adds: “The importance of getting out into
nature and the value of our green spaces has never been clearer than it
has been over the last couple of years.
“The work of the Durham Wildlife Trust team and the many volunteers that
support them makes a massive difference to the green spaces across our
region, and we’re very pleased to be able to support a grassroots
environmental project that will benefit local people in lots of
Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund at
the Community Foundation has also contributed over £2.3m in grants and
partnerships to a wide variety of charities and projects across the
region, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Prince’s
The grants are so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more
than 151,000 people.