2020 Vision is a dynamic people engagement project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The fund is designed to strengthen organisations and build the capacity of staff and volunteers to better manage heritage in the long-term.
This project is specifically focused on creating public awareness of the serious state of nature and to foster a grassroots movements to act for wildlife via community initiatives and large-scale events. Most topical, the funding is also helping the 2020 Team to respond to new challenges in nature conservation and changes in environmental protection as the UK leaves the European Union.
Nature is under threat from human impacts on the environment, climate change, housing and industrial development, pollution and intensive agriculture and fishing. According to The State of Nature Report (2016): “Between 1970 and 2013, 56% of UK species declined…15% are threatened with extinction. This suggests we are among the most nature-depleted countries in the world.”
There are pockets of beauty in the UK, but Northumberland is as depleted as anywhere else is, and the current situation is far from the rich picture of pre-1940s diversity: meadows and grasslands are 98% gone and the county has little remaining native woodland. And in Newcastle and North Tyneside, the demand for housing and industry has caused urban sprawl with green space reduced to green corridors. There is now an urgent need for fundamental change which can only happen with significant support from the public. The grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund is so invaluable to us as it will enable us to work with local communities to restore our natural landscapes - without this we risk losing many of our iconic species and the natural habitats upon which they (and we) depend.
The Big Wild Debate - 17th October 2019
Thanks to 2020 project funding, Northumberland Wildlife Trust held its first ever Big Wild Debate (BWD) in the autumn of 2019. The large scale event, held at the University of Northumbria, featured a panel of local experts and attracted an audience of over 300 people invited to have their say on current environmental concerns.
The discussion spanned a wide range of issues with the first half including questions on climate change and global warming, transport, health, well-being and the benefits of nature and policy change. The second half of the debate addressed Brexit and protection of European species, nature protection, forestry, planning and development.
Mike Pratt received the loudest cheer of the night when he concluded the event by saying: “Tonight we’ve all come together to start a change and we’ll continue to do so. We need to keep active hope alive for the future.” The event received very positive feedback from attendees and local media and we're hoping to be able to deliver further such activities, in the future.