Areas in and around Worcestershire, such as County Hall, have blossomed into life with wonderful wildflower meadows that are attracting lots of pollinators and supporting local biodiversity.
Worcestershire County Council was awarded just under £3,000 in European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant from the Natural Networks programme to create areas of wildflowers across the county and around its main site.
The funding has led to large areas of wildflowers being planted by the Council’s Countryside Service at various locations around the County Hall site and Worcestershire to increase opportunities for wildlife and pollinators. The funding has also been used to install bee posts and a bee brick to provide safe nesting sites for solitary bees and other pollinators.
Bees and pollinating insects aren’t the only wildlife to benefit from this funding, the wildflower habitat will also benefit a range of species visiting the site, including hedgehogs, birds and bats.
In 2015, Worcestershire County Council announced it would become a 'pollinator friendly county' to promote the protection of pollinating insects and their habitats. The Natural Networks project at County Hall brings this commitment to life at the Council's HQ site and throughout Worcestershire.
The Council’s new Pollinator Strategy 2020-2025 launched in mid-July, which sets out the local objectives which the Council believe must be addressed to play a part in slowing and reversing the dramatic decline of pollinators globally.
Councillor Tony Miller, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Environment said: “It is wonderful to see County Hall in full bloom and see the site buzzing with wildlife. We have put County Hall right at the heart of our commitment to being a pollinator-friendly county and we are happy to lead the way in supporting pollinators in the county and encourage others to do what they can too."
Pollinators are vital to our food supply and are particularly important in a county such as Worcestershire with a large agricultural and horticultural industry. It is the Council’s vision that Worcestershire will be abundant in native flower-rich habitats, helping to support sustainable pollinator populations, which in turn support a sustainable and thriving agricultural and horticultural sector, and make places more attractive for people to live and work in.
Declining numbers of all types of pollinators including bees and their habitats have been seen throughout the UK, including Worcestershire. By making the commitment to be 'pollinator friendly' and supporting biodiversity on the doorstep, the County Council has been able to make a direct difference through the management of County Council owned land.
Through the Natural Networks Programme, Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust are working with communities and landowners to conserve and restore Worcestershire's natural environment so that everyone can appreciate and enjoy our county's rich natural environment.
Natural Networks is a grant programme offering advice and funding to projects which aim to create and restore habitats for wildlife.
Grants are available between £2,000 and £200,000. Organisations can apply for a grant for up to 45% of projects costs. The programme will be running until December 2022.
To be eligible for the grant, the sites must have free and ongoing public access.
Visit the Natural Network Programme page to find out more or call 01905 843992 in office hours.