An inspiring campaign to create new wildflower corridors to help save bees has almost reached the halfway point of its fundraising target.
As 2019 draws to a close, Bee Lines has now garnered donations to the tune of more than £27,000.
The latest fundraising boost has come from Forest Holidays, which gave just over £9,400 following donations from holiday bookings during November and over the Black Friday weekend.
Meanwhile, a flurry of donations have been received, including from Midhurst Rother College. Pupils raised funds by holding a bake sale and various smaller fundraising events across the school week.
The campaign launched in May and is aiming to raise £75,000 to help farmers and other landowners create new wildflower corridors – essentially a “road system” for insects – that will link habitats and encourage pollination.
Led by the South Downs National Park Trust charity, the campaign aims to restore flower-rich habitats and create a haven for pollinators in the South Downs.
Nick Heasman, Countryside and Policy Manager for the South Downs National Park and who is leading the project, said: “We’re finishing 2019 having almost reached the halfway point of our fundraising, so we’re really pleased.
“It’s been an incredible effort and we’d like to thank each and every person and business that has donated. I’d like to say a special thanks to Forest Holidays and Midhurst Rother College for all the fundraising they have done.
“We’re now hoping to be able to smash our target in 2020!”
Forest Holidays donation was part of a fundraising partnership with UK National Parks. With thousands of bookings made, the whole campaign raised ££51,065, of which the South Downs National Park will receive a share in 2020.
The money will go towards helping to restore pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which have declined nationally because of habitat fragmentation that has seen their foraging grounds reduced in size and number. Bee Lines are an innovative way of joining up these habitats and helping populations to recover and also be more resilient to human impact.
Julie Fawcett, Chair of the South Downs National Park Trust, said: “Through this campaign, we plan to work with farmers and landowners to create new wildflower corridors to link up these fragmented habitats. This will allow the insects to travel along these paths. It’s a double benefit because creating this network will not only allow populations to thrive and support other wildlife, but it will also encourage pollination that will help our farmers.”
Cat Hawkins, Chair of National Parks Partnerships, added: “Huge thanks to our national partners Forest Holidays for this brilliant campaign, which has generated much-needed funds for at-risk species in the UK’s National Parks. Protecting the National Parks’ biodiversity is more important than ever, and these funds will make a real impact at a local level.”
Any community group or business interested in helping the fundraising should contact Mark Rose, funding co-ordinator at the South Downs National Park Trust, at Mark.Rose@southdowns.gov.uk