Being able to educate young people and local residents about nature and conservation has been a priority for the team at the Litten Nature Reserve in Greenford – and the community has now rallied around in return to help improve its classroom.
To help keep its work with the local community growing, the team was recently backed with £35,000 worth of support via Spacehive, the ‘crowdfunding’ website, to improve the on-site classroom. This crowdfunding enabled 20 groups or individuals to back the project through donations of labour, materials or money. It included funding from the council’s Greenford Green ward forum, and a Heathrow Communities volunteer group carrying out painting and supplying materials.
Jon Staples (pictured at Litten above), one of the park rangers, said: “Improving the classroom will help attract more visitors and bring them closer to nature. We already host a variety of events such as open days, bat walks, nature trails and storytelling, but the great British weather is not always on our side, so having an indoor space helps a lot. As well as providing shelter from the elements, it is a space where people can review and discuss what they have learnt.
“We are so pleased that we managed to get 20 backers and raise the money we need to get the electrics and heating sorted in there, repaint the place and create new storage for tools and wet weather gear.
“The reserve is in a really built up area of Greenford, so being able to step through our gates and get back to nature, even for a short time, is very welcome and we have a lot of local support. Many of our visitors are regulars to the reserve. They come back just to enjoy the space and some are involved in our ground breaking projects. We have supported pupils with learning needs from Belvue High School to learn about nature as part of their training programme which helps young people with skills in the workplace. Those students will be involved in looking after the renovated space.”