PEOPLE in Bicester are set to get more help transforming their gardens and community spaces into friendly environments for wildlife to thrive.

An 18-month-long project called Wild Bicester is going to be extended for another two years thanks to extra funding.

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Money has been secured through the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF), as well as a generous £10,000 contribution from Bicester Town Council, to fund the initiative until May 2024.

The scheme is being delivered by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), Bicester Garden Town, Cherwell District Council and Healthy Bicester, working in partnership with the town council.

Bicester Advertiser: BBOWT Wild Bicester

Its aim is to invite everyone in Bicester, whatever their age or background, to turn their homes and communities into wildlife-rich places to create a greener, healthier and wilder town.

So far, the initiative has helped St Edburg's Church to make the churchyard more wildlife-friendly by creating wild areas of long grass for insects, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

This work helped to win the church the A Rocha Eco Church Bronze Award.

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BBOWT has also been working with residents at Launton Grange Care Home by installing a giant bug hotel and hedgehog house, bird feeders, water baths and bird houses in the grounds.

Wild Bicester Project Officer Ed Munday gave a talk at the home and worked with residents to make two hedgehog homes and install them in the garden. As a result of this work, Launton Grange won the 2021 national Garden in Bloom competition.

Ed Munday, Wild Bicester Project Officer at BBOWT, said: "We are absolutely delighted that this funding has been acquired and we are so grateful to Bicester Town Council for helping to secure it.

Bicester Advertiser: Ed Munday. Pic by BBOWTEd Munday. Pic by BBOWT

"Since we launched Wild Bicester in December 2020 we have already achieved so much, such as helping St Edburg's Church win an Eco Church Award, making Launton Grange Care Home a wilder place, and leading wellbeing walks in green spaces around the town with our partners at Aspire.

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"All of our work is helping people to learn about local wildlife, why it is so important and how they can help, and there is so much more that we can do.

"We are currently looking at what we could achieve with this wonderful extra funding over the next two years, and we look forward to making a formal announcement in due course."

The project also aims to complement environmental work being done in the town by groups such as Bicester Green Gym and Bicester Grassroots.

Bea Foster, volunteer at Bicester Green Gym, said: "I hope this extension to the time will allow the project to really take off.”

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