Habitats & Heritage is a new local charity that cares for the natural and historic environment in South and West London. It was launched in November following the merger of two long established charities, Environment Trust and South West London Environment Network.
The mission of Habitats & Heritage is to protect and conserve our threatened rivers, green spaces, parks, and historic built environment. In combining the two former charities, Habitats & Heritage now leads the way in protecting and creating a better and more sustainable environment for everyone, so that our work benefits not just the people who live and work in the area today, but future generations too.
Already Habitats & Heritage has a number of exciting projects underway, including ‘Green Hubs’, which sees us working with local residents, councils, business and community groups to create thriving habitats in small, underutilised spaces. From roadside verges to areas outside offices and schools, we are supporting local communities to improve sites such as these to provide food sources and shelter to pollinators, birds, and hedgehogs. Look out for a Green Hub popping up near you!
We are also continuing with our project ‘Burton: Exploring Without Boundaries’ to commemorate the bicentenary of Sir Richard Burton, the famous Victorian explorer buried in Mortlake. As part of the project the new organisation is encouraging everyone to explore their local area and discover something new, be it a park that they have not visited before or one of the countless fantastic museums we are fortunate to have on our doorstep.
Many people are surprised to learn that local authorities in the UK have no legal duty to look after parks and green spaces, despite them being critical for biodiversity and the health of our planet. As such, community involvement is vital in protecting these valuable spaces, and the new charity plays a key role in empowering and mobilising groups of people to enhance and maintain the spaces they care about.
Habitats & Heritage builds on almost 35 years of experience caring for the local environment and ensuring the preservation of its rich heritage. During that time we have welcomed over 1,000 school children to St Leonards Air Raid Shelter, constructed a traditional kitchen garden at Marble Hill Park, restored two buildings on Historic England’s at-risk register, and helped to create a five hectare nature reserve in the heart of Surbiton. Our work promoting sustainability in schools, community centres and households had led to a reduction in emissions across Richmond Borough and will remain central to the new charity going forward as we work to ensure that everyone can enjoy and benefit from our built and natural heritage.
We hope that you will follow the work of the new organisation as we embark on this exciting new chapter as Habitats & Heritage, and will consider supporting us at this critical time, as we strive to protect the rich and varied habitats and heritage that make up South and West London. For more information please visit www.habitatsandheritage.org.uk