Somerset Wildlife Trust launches new project to support local communities and young people across Somerset to take community-led action for nature

Wilder Communities 30x30 is a new 3-year project recently launched by Somerset Wildlife Trust and funded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Made possible by funds raised by National Lottery players, the project aims to support the development of “Nature Recovery corridors” in South and East Somerset by encouraging local communities to take action for the wildlife right on their doorsteps and help create a resilient, nature-rich landscape for both wildlife and people to enjoy.

Only around 10% of Somerset can currently be classified as being in good natural or semi-natural condition, with species-rich natural habitats supporting abundant and diverse wildlife. Nature Recovery Networks are interconnected habitats operating at a landscape scale and are recognised as an important approach to reversing the decline in nature and restoring ecosystem health — vital to support clean air, water, soils, and providing health and wellbeing opportunities.

Through the new Wilder Communities 30x30 project, Somerset Wildlife Trust will work with local communities to establish the support and resources needed to co-design activities to create more space for wildlife in community spaces, gardens, verges, parks, and schools, joining up pre-existing green spaces and contributing to the Nature Recovery Network.

New Wilder Communities Officer at Somerset Wildlife Trust, Guy Braga, will be advising communities on the actions they can take and identify training and grants to help this happen.

Guy Braga, Wilder Communities Officer, says: “I have been so inspired by the ideas, imagination and enthusiasm that people have for restoring nature in their local area. Often people have a great idea but need a little extra help to formulate a plan and get their project off the ground – that’s where I can help. I’m here to listen, advise and connect communities, to ensure that their ideas can be a success and benefit wildlife in the long-term.”

Somerset Wildlife Trust is also keen to support younger members of the community in having a positive impact on nature. New Wilder Youth Officer, Sian Bentley, will be working with young people across the county to build a new Youth Forum, and is advocating for opportunities for young people to take a leading role in nature’s recovery.

Sian Bentley, Wilder Youth Officer, says: “It’s really important that young people have a voice and the opportunity to participate in society. More than half of young people are stressed about the climate and ecological crises*. We know that we can build hope by providing opportunities for young people to connect with nature, make greener choices as individuals, and join together as a force for good. I’ve had a brilliant few months meeting inspiring young people across Somerset, and I’d love to hear from you if you’re aged 14-24 and want to get involved.”

Stuart McLeod, Director of England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We’re thrilled to support this project that will not only engage the next generation of nature champions but also make sure that they have a voice to lead on change for nature.

“We are lucky to have some fantastic natural heritage on our doorsteps but this must be protected and preserved for the future. It is thanks to National Lottery players that we can support projects like this – helping to connect people to the world around them and also make a positive change for the planet.”

For more information about the project and how you can help with Somerset Wildlife Trust’s ambitions for a Wilder future, please email: [email protected] or visit:

* The survey across 10 countries was led by Bath University in collaboration with five universities with responses from 10,000 people aged between 16 and 25.