A Bigger, Brighter Future for Gosforth Nature Reserve

Thanks to the generous support of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, one of the oldest nature reserves in the region will continue to thrive in 2021.

NHSN volunteers are delighted to have been granted £91,500 in funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).  This will protect wildlife, support young people and provide new educational opportunities at Gosforth Nature Reserve.

Through their Local Growth Fund VCSE Capital Grant programme, North East LEP aims to help communities across the North East recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the reserve, vital funding will directly support the creation of a new Environmental Field Station, timber-built so blending seamlessly with the reserve’s woodland. Serving as a regional centre for outdoor education, the new field station will provide a dedicated learning space for school, college, and university groups, helping committed volunteers share their natural history knowledge and providing many new and exciting opportunities to visitors.

Celebrating the good news, NHSN Director, Clare Freeman said:

Young people will be delighted with opportunities to experience nature and develop new skills at Gosforth Nature Reserve.  Skilled, enthusiastic volunteers are really excited to develop our education programme to offer a much wider range of activities,  proactively inviting new community groups to experience this regional natural gem.  We would love to hear from community groups, school groups, colleges and universities who may like to visit the new field station and nature reserve.

NHSN volunteers have developed relationships with local organisations to inspire wonder in the natural world. Among these,  are young people’s charities, such as Children North East. They will love the new field station and toilets, gaining a warm and dry space from which to learn about the natural world year-round, whatever the weather.

Rubio, age 14, who visited the site with Children North East said:

When we went to Gosforth Nature Reserve it made me feel so calm. I loved seeing the birds and wildlife. It will make a big, massive difference to have a warm space to have lunch in away from the bugs and mean can spend more time there as if I can relax and go to the toilet, I won’t feel I have to rush to leave. I will be so happy to go back there and spend time watching the animals. It is a calm, beautiful place.

Rubio, 14, with twin brother Lus enjoyed learning about wildlife at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Carol Botten, North East LEP Board Member representing the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE), said:

As the region works together to recover from the impact of COVID-19, projects like the Environmental Field Station play a key role in helping our communities gain new skills and enjoy the rich environment of the North East. It’s important that the future of the North East is a green future and one that gives all our communities every opportunity to thrive.

Sharing her thoughts on the latest news, Louise Roberts,  Curriculum Manager for Early Years at New College Durham said:

Having an indoor space for young people to be able to shelter, learn and socialise in will bring many benefits.  We will be able to have longer visits at the reserve, which makes it more worthwhile when travel costs are high.  Also, we will be able to visit at different times of the year which will offer wider experiences to young students.  We can’t wait to be able to share this wonderful new facility with our students.

In more great news for wildlife and local people, funding from the Local Growth Fund has raised the possibility of extending Gosforth Nature Reserve to cover an additional 20 hectares of nearby woodland.

In the future, passionate volunteers could manage the new woodland for the benefit of local wildlife and local people. In doing so, protecting vital habitat in the city to the benefit of many species, including badger, roe deer, willow tit and barn owl.

NHSN volunteers have managed Gosforth Nature Reserve since 1929 – providing an all-important home for nature in the heart of an increasingly urbanised Tyneside. With the generous support of North East LEP, they will continue their work long into the future, safeguarding more of Newcastle’s green space and providing vital room for nature.

NHSN Volunteer Ranger Dan Clark said:

Support from North East Local Enterprise Partnership will make a world of difference at Gosforth Nature Reserve. Not only could the reserve grow, protecting more wildlife and safeguarding more of Newcastle’s precious wildlife corridor, but the new Environmental Field Station will inspire and educate young people, students, and youth groups from right across the North East.

Never has it been more important to inspire young people to protect and care for the natural world. Thanks to North East LEP, volunteers will be able to share their knowledge with groups big and small long into the future.