Northumberland Wildlife Trust and partners secured over £150,000 lottery funding for red squirrel project

Lottery funding of over £150,000 has been awarded to a project aiming to protect and conserve red squirrel populations.
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Development funding of £158,600 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help Northumberland Wildlife Trust and a team of partners progress plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date.

The five year Red Squirrel Recovery Network (RSRN) project will see Northumberland Wildlife Trust working in partnership with the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, the Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside Wildlife Trust, The Southern Uplands Partnership in Scotland and Knowsley Safari Foundation in Merseyside.

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During the 12 month development phase the countrywide team will develop the methodology for large scale grey squirrel fertility control, plan audience engagement and activity programmes and write a conservation plan.

Red squirrel conservation work has received a boost. Picture: John BridgesRed squirrel conservation work has received a boost. Picture: John Bridges
Red squirrel conservation work has received a boost. Picture: John Bridges

In addition, team members will work together to collect baseline data across the project areas on squirrel presence/absence and grey squirrel management activity.

There will be a public awareness programme to inform the public on the relationship between squirrels and pine martens - a natural predator of squirrels, and the impact they may have on both reds and greys.

During the delivery phase the project will establish the governance for a community grant, provided by the RSRN project, to local community groups enabling them to undertaken their own red squirrel conservation projects.

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The UK is at a critical point in the recovery of red squirrels as grey squirrels have driven reds out of the majority of mainland England and parts of Scotland, putting them at risk of extinction.

Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust chief executive, says: “We are delighted to have been successful in our application for development funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund as we believe the proposed project will make a sustainable long term contribution to preventing the extinction of red squirrels in England and Southern Scotland.

“The development funding will enable us to work closely with our partners and community groups to build strong application for the next round of approval.”

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we’re delighted to support the development phase of this project that will enable Northumberland Wildlife Trust and its community partners to take a collaborative approach to protect the native red squirrel and give it the best chance of survival."

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