Surrey Hills Society project receives National Lottery Heritage Funding

25th April 2024

Our Surrey Hills needs everyone’s help to keep it special for the future

Surrey Hills Society are thrilled to announce that they have received a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of just under £145,000 for their project ‘Growing Together: Inclusion and Conservation in the Surrey Hills’. A big thank you to all National Lottery players for helping to make this happen.

The core objective of ‘Growing Together’ is to establish a legacy into the future for inclusive environmental conservation. The Society is employing a dedicated project officer, who will seek out, encourage and nurture a diverse community of environmental champions to actively participate in conservation projects. We are committed to engaging with the community and believe that everyone should have a chance to learn about, care for and preserve our special Surrey Hills National Landscape for the future.

In 1949 the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act stated that protected landscapes should be preserved as spaces for physical and mental wellbeing for all. However, a 2023 survey of green volunteering opportunities for disabled people in Surrey concluded that they face significant barriers to being able to participate in activities. Our project is a proactive step towards bridging these gaps.

Gordon Jackson, Chairman of the Society says: “Over the last couple of years, The Society has developed an extensive programme of local conservation and countryside activities, aiming to inspire people of all abilities and backgrounds to learn about the environment and help to conserve our varied habitats. ‘Growing Together’ is a natural extension of this work and we are delighted, thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players, to be able to work alongside our new partners to promote accessible countryside pursuits and to increase confidence in being outdoors.”

We already work closely with a number of charitable organisations in the sector. Representatives from Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum, Surrey Coalition of Disabled People and Surrey Choices have made the following statement:
“We are delighted to be partners in a project that holds inclusion at its very core. ‘Growing Together’ will provide important opportunities for those who traditionally face barriers when accessing the countryside. We believe this project will help the people we support to enjoy new experiences, learn new skills, build relationships and connect with the heritage of the Surrey Hills National Landscape.”

The project will run for 18 months and will be monitored for success by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.