Big Lottery Fund
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BIG buzzzz grows as Lottery backs grassroots ‘Dirty Weekend’

People of all ages will be going wild for wildlife, creating bee habitats, going on guided nature walks and sowing seeds at hundreds of community nature events this summer funded by Big Lottery Fund (BIG).


Close to £1 million has today been awarded to 251 environmental projects across the UK to enable them to showcase their work to engage more local people with nature and attract more volunteers.  Many of the events funded will take place over the BBC Springwatch ‘Dirty Weekend’ coming soon on the 6 and 7 June, which will see people up and down the country joining in to do their bit for nature.


Chris Packham, Presenter, Springwatch, said: "Going outside, getting my hands dirty and making a difference for wildlife is probably the most satisfying thing about my job. And The Dirty Weekend is all about getting people across the UK to do the same. We would like thousands of you to get muddy, grubby and downright dirty doing one thing for nature. Because if everyone gets stuck in and does just one thing, then over one weekend together we'll make a big difference."


Sir Clive Booth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “This joint initiative between BIG and the BBC means that many more people across the UK now have a Breathing Place near them.  Through these latest grants, people of all ages can go along to Lottery-funded events to learn about nature and to appreciate the difference a Breathing Place can make to their community and local wildlife. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the tireless work of volunteers and to attract new volunteers for the future.”


In Wolverhampton, Boundary Way Allotments Association has secured a grant of £4,910 for the Boundary Way Community Garden in Warstones. The money will be used to hold an open day on June 6 to promote the garden. Activities taking place include pond dipping, taster sessions in conservation, bird spotting, making owl boxes and beehive observation. The group will also create a native wildflower meadow and install information boards. It is hoped that more volunteers will be recruited to help maintain the garden.


Bryon Aston, Treasurer of the Allotments Association, said: "Boundary Way Allotments Association members are delighted that our application has been successful, as this will enable us to continue to develop the project previously part-funded by our first Breathing Places grant.


“The latest grant will enable us to develop the wildlife aspect of our Community Garden, in particular the provision of a birdhide, nature trail, owl boxes and beehives. Some allotment holders are already receiving training in how to encourage and care for bees, as we are concerned that they are becoming an endangered species. “


Down in the South West, the Marine Biological Association has secured £4,985 for their Batten Bay project. The charity, established in 1884, will hold a Seashore festival at Batten Bay in Plymouth on June 6. The event will be open to schools and the general public and will include litter picks, guided seashore safaris, beach art and beach cleaning.


Schools will be encouraged to run field trips to the breathing place and a training course in marine life identification will be organised for volunteers, so they can help monitor and record species in the future. An information panel will be installed at the aquarium. Seashore safari days will also be run for school groups with activities such as guided rock pool rambles, educational games and litter awareness activities.


Jack Sewell, Education and Research Officer said: “The highlight of the programme will be a seashore festival that will be held as part of the BBC's Dirty Weekend, that will involve a range of local partners in a fun filled day, packed with activities on the shore. The money will allow us to run a series of events, aimed at raising awareness of and protecting the amazing wildlife in Batten Bay and its surrounding seas in Plymouth Sound.”


In Greenwich, London, a host of family fun including willow-weaving workshops, guided nature walks and pond dipping is planned at the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park’s event on Sunday 7 June. The Friends Of Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park group is today awarded a £2,867 grant for the wildlife event that hopes to introduce new people to the site and give them a taste for nature. Following the well-known decline in the UK bee population people will be shown how to make their own simple bee habitats that they can take home and put up in their own gardens to instantly attract bees.


Over the weekend of 6-7 June, the BBC Breathing Places campaign will encourage thousands of people to enjoy the great outdoors and get their hands dirty doing one thing for nature, transforming where they live. Supported by Springwatch and by BBC Local Radio, there will be a fun packed Dirty Weekend event happening near to where you live. For further details visit


All the projects funded today were originally developed with funding from previous rounds of BIG’s Breathing Places grant scheme, run in partnership with the BBC’s Breathing Places campaign. The campaign is all about getting communities closer to nature and this latest lottery funding will enable the projects to showcase their work, engage more local people with nature and attract more volunteers.


Find the full list of Breathing Places grants announced today (.xls 100KB). 
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More information about Breathing Places can be found at and a full list of grants awarded through this programme is available at:  



Further Information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours contact: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030
Textphone: 0845 6021 659

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available at:



Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • The Breathing Places programme is a joint initiative led by the BBC and funded by the Big Lottery Fund. Since 2006 BIG has awarded £9.5 million to 1073 projects through the dedicated small grant scheme, allowing communities to transform the local environment and create wildlife-friendly green spaces.
  • BBC Breathing Places is a five-year campaign to inspire people to create and care for green spaces where they live. Developed in partnership with a huge range of wildlife and conservation organisations, the campaign encourages new audiences to get involved in doing one thing for nature, while providing opportunities for BBC Breathing Places to be created across the UK.
  • provides details on how to do one thing for nature where you live from putting up a bird feeder to creating a breathing place. The public can search over 7,000 places and events to find one near them. This year the BBC is holding a Dirty Weekend encouraging people to get heir hands dirty. This takes place On June 6-7.
  • A Breathing Place is great for both wildlife and people. It has an active community of people creating, enjoying and maintaining it.

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