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Funding for Sure Start centres and animal grazing ensured by council funding

PUBLISHED: 12:03 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:39 16 August 2019

Bug hunting on a Norfolk Wildlife Trust sure start session. Picture: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Bug hunting on a Norfolk Wildlife Trust sure start session. Picture: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

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Sure Start centres and more focus on supporting conservation grazing are to come from North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) chosen charity of the year.

Children's author Jess French at a Norfolk Wildlife Trust sure start session. Picture: Norfolk Wildlife TrustChildren's author Jess French at a Norfolk Wildlife Trust sure start session. Picture: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

The Chairman of NNDC, Dr Clive Stockton, has invited Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) to be his Charity of the Year, with money raised supporting conservation grazing and family learning.

Funds raised by the council will be used in two key areas of NWT's work across Norfolk including, to support conservation grazing with rare native breeds and to extend engagement with young children in Sure Start centres.

Dr Stockton said: "Involving children at an early age gives them a life-long appreciation of the importance of nature and wildlife and how we can all relate positively to the natural round around us.

"At a time when we are becoming more aware of the importance of the natural environment, it is particularly relevant that we make every effort to involve the next generation and those to come."

North Norfolk District Council's Bagot goats. Picture: Norfolk Wildlife TrustNorth Norfolk District Council's Bagot goats. Picture: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

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Conservation grazing with cattle, sheep and ponies protects important areas for wildlife, without regular grazing many rare and fragile habitats would be at risk of being overwhelmed by more dominant plants.

NNDC has already shown its own commitment to conservation grazing through the Bagot goat herd, 15 of which are on long-term loan to NWT in the Brecks.

Chief executive of NWT, Pamela Abbott said: "The Trust's flagship nature reserve at Cley and Salthouse Marshes forms a key part of the iconic north Norfolk landscape and this funding will make a real difference to wildlife habitats and the very young and their families across the county."

NWT's Sure Start with Nature project introduced children to the natural world at the very start of their lives.

The 2018-19 pilot was run in partnership with Sure Start Children's Centres in Great Yarmouth, Thetford and Corpusty, and included monthly indoor and outdoor nature-focused activities.

Funds from NNDC would contribute to a continuing the work and, with more funding, establishing a bigger project in Norfolk from next year to help families learn about nature and wildlife together, and embrace the natural world.

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