We Need Your Help

Monday 6th May 2013

Membership is becoming increasingly important to the Trust at a time when many traditional funding sources for nature have been reduced or withdrawn.

Kick-starting economic growth has become the main focus for the country, but this coincides with a significant decline in wildlife, which was demonstrated in May 2013 in the State of Nature report.

The report, launched by Sir David Attenborough, showed that 60% ofspecies studied were in decline including once commonBritish wildlife.

Avon Wildlife Trust has achieved many conservation successes in recent years, thanks to the support of its 16,000 members, theirmembership subscriptions and other funders.

The Trust has launched a major venue-based and door-to-door fundraising campaign to ensure the it can maintain its programme of local work. Over the next few weeks, trained fundraisers, wearing clothing with the Avon Wildlife Trust logo and carrying identification badges, will be calling house-to-house. Trained membership recruiters are also working all-year at venues such a retail outlets, shows, events and exhibitions including Wildlife Photographer of the Year at M Shed in Bristol.

The fundraisers have been trained by two specialist fundraising organisations - Wesser, which has raised millions of pounds for charities across Europe and South West Wildlife Fundraising Ltd (SWWFL), a subsidiary owned by Wildlife Trusts in the south west.

Membership recruiters will not be collecting cash or cheques; instead, they ask people to become members of Avon Wildlife Trust with regular, affordable direct debit payments. Anyone wishing to do so just needs to complete a simple form, which can be done on the doorstep or at the venue.

The Trust's Director of Communications and Membership Dagmar Smeed commented: “The Trust is a charity and depends on the support of our members, as they provide our only regular source of income.We need funding to carry out our conservation work and to protect some of our most stunning places including bluebell woods, wildflower meadows and ancient wetlands.

“By working with Wesser and SWWFL we are able to tell people about our charitable work, as well as raising funds in the most cost-effective and secure way possible, through regular donations.This is a local campaign, which directly supports our local conservation work.Long-term support makes all the difference in planning for the future, helping Avon Wildlife Trust to continue its valuable work in ensuring our local area's wildlife has a secure future and can be enjoyed by everyone.”

The Trust cares for 35 nature reserves across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. They include popular beauty spots such as Brown's Folly near Bath, Prior's Wood at Portbury, Portbury Wharf near Portishead, Folly Farm in the Chew Valley, Dolebury Warren on the Mendip Hills, Willsbridge Valley in South Gloucestershire and Brandon Hill in Bristol.

Members' support directly helps local wildlife from water voles and greater horseshoe bats to orchids and hedgehogs. Avon Wildlife Trust runs innovative and award-winning education and community programmes to inspire people of all ages, from Wild Schools and Feed Bristol to Communities and Nature, and also provides advice to landowners. Trust President and TV naturalist Simon King commented: “The work of Avon Wildlife Trust is of great significance to me. Bristol and Bath are among the greenest and most wildlife-friendly cities in the world, and the more people realise just what they have on their doorsteps, the more they will care about what happens to it."