THE MANX Wildlife Trust is celebrating after a firm responded to its plea for help for financial support.
In August we reported the role of its education officer was in serious jeopardy after the Department of Education and Children stopped a £15,000 annual grant.
But the trust has now said it was delighted to announce that financial support had been secured to allow the post to continue thanks to Nedbank Private Wealth.
As a long-standing supporter of the MWT, through the charity’s corporate membership scheme, the bank was keen to see the education officer’s valuable work with local children continue.
An MWT spokesman said: ‘Since September last year, the MWT has been charging schools for the services provided by Kath Smith, the trust’s education officer for the past 10 years, in an attempt to cover costs.
‘Unfortunately, though, whilst the charges were very competitive and schools were still keen for their pupils to benefit from Kath’s expertise, the trust has seen a considerable reduction in bookings.
‘The 12 months’ financial support provided by Nedbank Private Wealth will now allow the trust to once again provide the education officer service to schools free of charge which, in turn, will allow more than 3,000 local children to benefit from a range of environmental education sessions this year.’
Over the years, Kath has made regular visits to schools, youth clubs, Brownie packs and other organisations for young people running a variety of wildlife-related activities and taking the children on field trips.
It gives them a chance experience, for example, rock-pooling, bird spotting and pond dipping in a fun and safe environment.
During the school holidays, Kath also organises similar activities for the public at coastal and countryside locations around the island. Kath is also responsible for running Manx Wildlife Watch – the trust’s junior arm.
Janet Taylor of Nedbank Private Wealth said: ‘During these times of austerity, it is vital that the education of our island’s children does not suffer and the understanding of our impact on the environment must continue to grow.
‘The education officer role is crucial in fulfilling both these objectives and therefore we are delighted to support the post and look forward to seeing increased school bookings as a result.’