Barn owl abodes thanks to Bags of Help

WildNet - Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust bags £4,000 from Tesco’s community grant scheme

Barn owls have suffered huge declines over the last 50 years due partly to agricultural intensification and also habitat loss. Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is trying to halt this decline by engaging with farmers, landowners, other organisations and local people and by installing a network of Barn Owl nest boxes. The Arden Farm Wildlife Network, funded by Natural England’s Facilitation Fund was set up in April 2018 with the aim of supporting farmers to create bigger, better, more joined up areas that benefit wildlife. Farmers within the Network are committing to managing their land more sympathetically for barn owls, providing the right habitat for their food (small mammals) and creating corridors in the landscape for them to travel. The missing link is the availability of suitable nesting sites which will now be supported thanks to this funding from Tesco Bags of Help. 

The new network of Barn Owl nest boxes throughout the Arden landscape will enable the barn owl population to flourish. Barns Owls are site faithful and will stay in their home range for their whole lives so the nest boxes we're providing will help to maintain the Barn Owl population in Warwickshire for future generations. Looking after our Barn Owls means that many other small creatures and plants benefit as well.  

In our Arden Farm Wildlife Network we are sharing best practice, group learning and identifying how farmers can work together at a landscape scale The result is farming practices are being adapted to benefit wildlife, whilst productive farms are maintained to help feed our nation. The group now has 30 members and is continuing to grow.  This equates to the equivalent area of around 9,000 football pitches of Warwickshire farmland working collaboratively for the benefit of wildlife.

Ian Jelley, Director of Living Landscapes at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said “Barn owls, like a lot of our native wildlife have faced huge declines over recent decades.  Farmland covers 70% of Warwickshire and through our Arden Farm Wildlife Network we are enabling farmers to come together and share best practice about making space for nature.  The Tesco Bags of Help funding will help support barn owl recovery on a landscape scale and we hope that by working in partnership with farmers we will be enable barn owl numbers to recover.  We are working in partnership with the Barn Owl Trust who are producing the boxes for us and local barn owl experts who will be advising the farmers on the best places to locate the boxes.” 
 
Read more about the Arden Farm Wildlife Network 

Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £79 million to over 26,000 local community projects. 

Voting ran in stores throughout May and June with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Arden Farm Wildlife Network has been awarded £4,000.

Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions are awarded funding.
Alec Brown, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help contributes funds to community projects up and down the country and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers voting in their local stores. We’re looking forward to seeing more projects brought to life.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area. We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.” 

To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp

Barn owl box Credit Ian Jelley