L&Q funds local Warwickshire conservation project helping community cope with pandemic

Published on 16/02/2021

A conservation project at Whitnash Brook Nature Reserve in Leamington Spa has been helping boost local resident’s physical and mental wellbeing through hands-on volunteering and community events during the pandemic.

The Wilder Whitnash project, managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) and funded by housing association L&Q, has been running since September 2020 and offers local people the chance to work together safely outdoors whilst giving back to their local nature reserve. Sessions are currently paused due to the national lockdown and will continue after the current restrictions are lifted.

Fortnightly conservation taster days ran from October 2020 – December 2020 with strict COVID policies and procedures in place for the safety of all participants. Small scale, COVID secure community events were also held to give families and young people the opportunity to discover the reserve. These included a guided walk of the reserve, a river rangers session and a family bushcraft day, which allowed them to experience new skills and spend valuable family time together.

Matthew Corbett, Director of the L&Q Foundation, said: “The coronavirus crisis is having a profound impact on local communities and our residents. We know that spending time outdoors in nature with others is positive for our overall wellbeing, so we are delighted to be supporting this initiative through our Place Makers Counties Fund.”

Faye Irvine, Wildlife Engagement Officer at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The taster sessions have proved extremely popular to a diverse range of people from retirees, those furloughed or recently made redundant, to local students keen to learn more about the practical elements of conservation.  Sessions allow volunteers to keep active, get involved in hands-on tasks, learn something new and meet like-minded people.”

In response to the housing and affordability crisis, L&Q has identified Warwickshire as a key area for expansion and has been working to bring its inclusive offer to the region. This includes Beauchamp Park, a 450-home development on land south of Gallows Hill.

The L&Q Foundation has pledged £650,000 to help communities during the coronavirus pandemic by supporting grassroots organisations such as Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Local organisations are encouraged to apply for grants from the L&Q Foundation Place Makers Fund.

Organisations can apply for the grants at https://www.lqgroup.org.uk/landq-foundation/placemakers