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A wilder vision for Wight’s future

A wilder vision for Wight's future

The vision to build a nature recovery network across the Isle of Wight is growing with a dedicated team on the lookout for local spaces which can be made more nature-friendly.

To give wildlife a helping hand, Wilder Wight was launched last year by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust supported by Southern Co-op.

After working with local residents, community groups and organisations on ways to make their spaces wilder, the Wilder Communities Officers are now on the look out for other places in need of inspiration.

In time, it is hoped the team might begin working with residents to create a ‘Wilder Street' which has already been successful in Portsmouth.

Joanna​ Ridley, Wilder Communities Officer, said: "We provide individuals, groups and organisations with the advice and support they need to create wilder and more nature-friendly spaces on the Isle of Wight.

"Supporting people to take care of and improve places that matter to them in ways that are right for them has allowed us to progress some exciting projects so far. We look forward to working with more people moving forward."

Southern Co-op has been supporting the Trust's wilder ambitions since it launched Wilder Portsmouth at the end of 2020.

Gemma Lacey, Director for Sustainability and Communications at Southern Co-op, said: "It has been a pleasure to be involved in Wilder Portsmouth and Wilder Wight and to see these programmes grow and expand their reach into new cities and areas. Our involvement has also helped inspire Southern Co-op members as well as our retail and funeralcare colleagues members to get involved in helping our natural environment thrive with plans to continue this with some woodland clearing in October.

"A lot of people are aware that helping nature to thrive can help us tackle climate change and build a more sustainable future but they don't know where to start. This is where Wilder Wight comes in. Ideas have included greening community spaces and streets, to improving areas for pollinators, bats, swifts and hedgehogs.

"The passion the team has for wildlife is infectious and we know this project will continue making a difference to creatures great and small on the Isle of Wight."

Vectis Road Allotments in East Cowes is one of the groups which has signed up to Wilder Wight. Following an initial site visit, they have formed a wildlife group and nominated a wildlife champion for the site.

They have already started to implement some of the suggestions from a report compiled by Wilder Wight and are exploring new opportunities such as sowing a wildflower area.

Lee Williamson, Site Manager at Vectis Road Allotments (VERA), East Cowes, said: "Being part of the Wilder Wight Communities Project has been a step in the right direction for VERA allowing us to move forward with our own wildlife projects and also launching our wildlife group within the allotment, knowing that the Project Officers are there to answer any questions and guide us is a valuable partnership."

This year Phoenix Youth Services residential home also embraced its wilder side as it took part in ‘No Mow May'.

Other successes include ideas shared with Ventnor Cemetery, Aspire Gardening Club and Ventnor Town Council.

A Facebook group is available for people to get involved which can be accessed

For more information on Wilder Wight Communities, contact