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£100,000 boost towards quadrupling the size of nature reserve near Fakenham

PUBLISHED: 14:11 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:11 29 November 2018

The Hawk and Owl Trust gets £100,000 for Sculthorpe Fen Appeal. A barn owl. Pictures: Richard Saxton

The Hawk and Owl Trust gets £100,000 for Sculthorpe Fen Appeal. A barn owl. Pictures: Richard Saxton

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A project that aims to quadruple the size of a nature reserve near Fakenham has received a £100,000 boost.

The Hawk and Owl Trust gets £100,000 for Sculthorpe Fen Appeal. Kingfisher. Pictures: Andy ThompsonThe Hawk and Owl Trust gets £100,000 for Sculthorpe Fen Appeal. Kingfisher. Pictures: Andy Thompson

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has awarded Norfolk-based national charity the Hawk and Owl Trust the money towards its Sculthorpe Fen Appeal.

The money will be used towards developing the new, much enlarged reserve, its facilities and developing the community engagement elements of the project.

Sculthorpe Moor nature reserve is known nationally for its wildlife, sympathetic and effective management techniques and accessibility to all.

The trust, with its national headquarters based at Sculthorpe, is raising £850,000 as part of a £1.7m Sculthorpe Fen Appeal to purchase additional land on either side of the existing reserve and to be able to extend its wildlife management into this area, and make it fully accessible to all.

As the reserve expands, more volunteers will be needed to help build the new infrastructure, manage and develop the land in a way that will benefit wildlife and meet and greet an increased number of visitors. An increased workforce will also be required to both manage the reserve, but also to offer more educational, conservation and community engagement activities.

The grant has been awarded through New Anglia LEP’s Growing Places Fund, and will help cover core costs, funding several new full-time posts as well as six work placements over the next two years.

A further 50 volunteers from the community will be needed to help with the day-to-day running, offering opportunities for exercise and making new friendships.

Reserve warden Nigel Middleton said: “This grant makes a truly significant contribution to the Sculthorpe Fen Appeal.

“Our vision for the future of this amazing reserve drives us onwards, and to see the finishing line in sight, with the help of this award is a fantastic thing. We can’t wait to be able to start developing the reserve, for wildlife and for people.”

Doug Field, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “North Norfolk already makes a significant contribution to our visitor economy. This project will strengthen that offer, helping create an outstanding facility that will benefit our economy and enrich the lives of people locally.”

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