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Natural Wight secures funding for sustaining impact

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Natural Wight secures funding for sustaining impact


Published by Tina for Spectrum Housing Group in Environment

Natural Wight and Wildlife Trust mini explorers day Natural Wight and Wildlife Trust mini explorers day

The Natural Wight team are thrilled to announce that they have secured additional funding from Natural England to extend their project until March 2014.   The project, managed by Spectrum Housing and funded by Natural England as part of their Access to Nature Programme, was originally due to conclude after 2 highly successful years in March 2013.   Natural Wight was one of a number of projects nationally who qualified to apply for Sustaining Change and Impact funding.  Funding in full, a total of £65,000, has been awarded.


Since the project began in February 2011, over 3000 people of all ages have taken part in Natural Wight’s diverse range of nature-inspired activities.  From wild food walks and forest days, from rockpooling to tree trails, bus tours exploring the Island’s most beautiful viewpoints for older people and the annual Pond Pirates pond-dipping and ‘park-life’ safaris, no Island stone has been left unturned!  This year’s highlight was the spectacular Up and Down kite festival which brought over 1000 visitors to Bembridge Down.


Rachel Jagger-Thomas, Natural Wight Project Manager said, ‘We are delighted to have been given this opportunity by Natural England.  The Sustaining Change and Impact programmes enable us to build on all that has been established throughout the last two years, creating a useful and long-lasting Natural Wight legacy.  While some of Natural Wight’s larger events will extend throughout 2014, resource packs, a microsite and new walking trails are planned, all aimed at reminding people how easy, and fun, it is to access nature on theIsland.’ 


At the heart of the project has been its work with young people aged 16-25, in particular young unemployed people from supported accommodation.  Natural Wight’s ‘Green Army’ as the group are known, have joined Natural Wight on island-wide conservation volunteering days, ‘young people’s’ walks and a ‘Green Skills’ craft course.  This extension to the original programme means that the team can work closely with local partners to leave a lasting local legacy of their work. Natural Wight will look to constitute the Green Army, embed the Green Skills courses as a perennial training option and encourage the Young People’s walks to become self-sustaining.  An inaugural Young People’s walk, to be led by a Green Army volunteer, is already planned for next year’s Isle of Wight Walking Festival.


Rachel Jagger-Thomascontinued, ‘The Island is also perhaps unique in the way organisations such as the Wildlife Trust, Footprint Trust and Gift to Nature work together to encourage awareness and appreciation of nature.  Natural Wight, as a housing association initiative, has been fortunate enough to work with many of these partners and to act as a hub in some ways, bringing new audiences to make the most of these exceptional opportunities.  The challenge for us  now is to use this project to ensure that partnerships, learning  and some of the  activities we have developed will be sustained way beyond the project’s end.’



If you too would like to find out more about Natural Wight, or (if you’re aged 16-25) you’d like to try your hand at conservation volunteering with our Green Army, email Natural Wight on for more information.



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Notes to Editor

1.  About Natural Wight

Natural Wight, run through Spectrum Medina, was awarded £96,670 through Access to Nature, a scheme run by Natural England and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.  The programme aims to encourage people to learn more about the beauty, diversity and accessibility of our Island environment.  For more information on Medina Housing Association’s Natural Wight project, please contact Rachel Jagger-Thomas, Natural Wight Project Manager or Claire Hector, Natural Wight Project Co-ordinator on 01983 824275,


2. About Access to Nature

Access to Nature is run by Natural England and is part of The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments.


Natural England manages this £28.75  million Lottery-funded programme on behalf of a consortium of twelve national environmental organisations comprising BTCV, British Waterways, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenspace, Groundwork UK, Land Restoration Trust, The National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust.


Through this programme, it is Natural England’s ambition to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds to have greater access to our natural environment and bring a lasting change to their awareness and understanding as well as improved links to the natural world, which many of us can take for granted.


Access to Nature closed to new applications in May 2010 but for further information about  the programme visit


The Big Lottery Fund is the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across theUKsince its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.


Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website:




3.  About Spectrum Medina

SpectrumMedina, with its headquarters inNewport,Isle of Wightis part of Spectrum Housing Group. SpectrumMedinamanages nearly 3,000 homes on theIslandincluding general needs housing for rent, sheltered housing, a leasehold scheme for older people and a Foyer which provides high quality accommodation linked to training and employment access for young adults aged between 16-25.


4. About Spectrum Housing Group

Spectrum Housing Group comprises:


Spectrum Medina

Spectrum Signpost

Spectrum Signpost Homes

Spectrum Property Care

Spectrum Western Challenge

Spectrum Premier Homes


Spectrum Housing Group owns and manages over 18,000 homes throughout the South, South West and Midlands.


The Group’s vision is:

“Great neighbourhoods, homes and services and a great place to work”


5.  About Southern Housing Group

Southern Housing Group is the 2010 Affordable Home Ownership Provider of the Year, an award which recognises the Home Ownership Provider who has exceeded in the task of moving the home ownership industry forward, and who has introduced outstanding schemes into the market, while considering the needs of the community and the environment.

Over the last 100 years, Southern Housing Group has become one of the largest housing associations in the south ofEngland, housing 66,000 residents, managing more than 25,500 homes, employing almost 900 people and working with more than 70 local authorities across the South East, including theIsle of Wight.

Our mission of ‘Unlocking the potential of people and places” unites the organisation behind a common set of qualities and objectives. The values underpinning our mission statement are to be Progressive, Inclusive, Responsible and Reliable.

Our activities focus on four key areas: the development of quality affordable housing, housing and neighbourhood management, a range of housing options for rent and home ownership and social and economic regeneration.

The Group’s social and economic regeneration work is undertaken to improve the lives of residents in the communities and neighbourhoods where the Group builds and manages homes. It provides tangible evidence of the Group’s commitment to building sustainable communities. 


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