City nature reserve gets £200k boost in lotto funding to 'go digital'

A community hub in Preston has received more than £200k in grants to develop a new digital heritage project delivering volunteering opportunities and help to sustain its outdoor nature reserve for years to come.

By James Holt
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 5:46 pm

The Intact Centre, Ingol, has received a £214,200 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the new heritage project, ‘Delivering Digital Dobcroft’ to build partnerships with wildlife specialists, schools and universities.

The project will ensure the Dobcroft reserve, which is an urban wildlife haven for the protection of the Great Crested Newt, will be more accessible, better conserved and safeguarded for future generations.

This will include offering a range of talks, walks and on-site and online courses for local people to find out more about the range of wildlife at the Whitby Avenue site.

The centre was recently awarded almost £200,000 of lotto funding in May to help fund its new food sustainability scheme 'Whitby's Pantry'.

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Ingol community centre bags almost £200,000 in lotto grants for new scheme

The reserve, owned by the Intact centre, was central to the mental health of Gillian Blackburn, a local land management volunteer, in lockdown.

She said: “Being involved has provided me with a very special opportunity to volunteer in a green space in an ever-growing urban setting.

Denise Hartley MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Intact at the nature reserve

“I had no garden space during recent lockdowns. So Dobcroft has been central to my physical and mental health during difficult times.

"I am over the moon to hear of the successful funding for its vital continuation for the environment and the opportunities it offers to future volunteers and the public at large”.

The funding will also support a new digital engagement tool ‘Virtual Dobcroft’ to provide digital access to our reserve through its website, including a 360-degree tour of the reserve to display and share information, photos, records and resources created through the project.

The centre will deliver activities such as species survey walks, Great Crested Newt sessions and pond dipping for local people.

The Intact Centre in Ingol

Operating locally for almost 30 years, the Intact centre works as a grassroots hub hosting community services such as a food sustainability scheme, cookery classes and councelling and employment services.

Denise Hartley MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Intact said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players.

"The project will encourage wide community ownership in an urban environment and will help local people develop their skills, understanding and knowledge of natural heritage and biodiversity.

The nature reserve officially opened in 2017

"Working with heritage professionals will enable the involvement of wildlife experts and volunteers to carry out flora and fauna surveys and will help to develop the reserve’s Scientific Interest, making links to academics at Universities and Colleges.

“We are confident the project will ensure that our local nature reserve, will be a place within the community that many local families, children and adults alike can access and enjoy for many years to come.”

Find more information at the Intact website or Facebook page.

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The Intact centre works as a grassroots hub hosting community services