Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust Helping Leicester’s children go wild

Background

After receiving valuable funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife (LRWT) decided to give its Wild Forest School Project a well-deserved boost.

Wild Forest School provides fun and engaging opportunities for children in Leicester, some of whom have never had the chance to explore the outdoors, to experience the natural world and discover nature through a range of wild activities. The programme provides a safe and supportive outdoor environment where children can develop their confidence and self-esteem, and learn new skills.

As part of the extended project, the Wildlife Trusts wanted to promote these activities within the local community, which is where we came in.

Approach

At the start of the project we developed a complete programme of PR activity for the year ahead. One of our first tasks was to build a microsite for the Forest School initiative, which would act as the first port of call for parents and schools interested in the scheme. The site provides up-to-date news and background information as well as some suggested activities for children.

In order to raise the Wild Forest School Project’s profile, we decided we needed a fun and creative way to get more children involved. In March 2015, we announced the launch of the ‘My Wild Life Adventure Competition’ and invited all Leicester city primary schools to submit the design of a wildlife area that they would like to have created in their grounds. 11 schools submitted their ideas, which were then judged by an expert panel.

With the help of the Trust’s team of Grow Wild gardeners, the three winning gardens, worth £3,500, were created throughout the year.

We also provided support for one of the project’s key events, a special activity session led by well-known naturalist and TV presenter Nick Baker. Children from five schools attended the event, which took place in Lucas’ Marsh nature reserve in Oadby. We also decided to take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity and produced a short promotional film for the Wild Forest School Project website.

Results

At every key stage of the ‘My Wild Life Adventure Competition’ competition we secured lots of lovely coverage in key regional media, helping to spread the word about the opportunities being made available for children through LRWT.

The Nick Baker event proved to be a big hit and received great feedback from everyone involved. The session was covered by BBC East Midlands Today, featuring on the evening news, as well as on BBC Radio Leicester and in the Leicester Mercury.

Over the course of the year our PR campaign secured coverage across all key local media, getting the message out to nearly 700,000 readers, viewers and listeners across the region.