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EastEnders star crowns pollination project the bees knees in major awards

10th September 2018

Schoolchildren from Cumran Primary School in Clough, Co Down were buzzing to discover their involvement in the Polli:Nation environmental programme has landed them a National Lottery Award.

Actor Nitin Ganatra, who plays Masood Ahmed in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders, swapped Albert Square for the playground to announce the initiative has been named Best Environment Project in the 2018 National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery funded projects.

The school is one of 260 taking part in the three-year UK-wide biodiversity and education project which encourages students to turn their grounds into pollinator friendly environments and to learn more about the range and role of pollinating insects and how they can help them.

Nitin Ganatra said: “It has been fantastic to travel to Northern Ireland to see this brilliant project in action.

“I have been really impressed by the passion, knowledge and enthusiasm of the children involved. The importance of pollinating insects is often overlooked but this scheme is carrying out vital work in educating young people and ensuring the protection of these significant species.

“National Lottery players should be proud to have supported such an interesting project and I am delighted to see the Polli:Nation team’s efforts rewarded with an National Lottery Award.”

Carley Sefton, chief executive of Learning through Landscapes who run Polli:Nation, added: “It has been fantastic seeing the impact of Polli:Nation in schools across the country. From using the project as a practical tool for enhancing lessons, to creating a school-wide “pollinator promise” and even creating new meadows in school grounds, everyone has got behind the campaign wholeheartedly.

“Most importantly, the project has empowered children to tackle one of our biggest environmental issues head on. As pollinators continue to decline globally, our eco-system finds itself under catastrophic threat. Polli:Nation has not only taught children about the urgency and importance of preserving our most important species, but it has also given them the chance to physically save them.

“We are so grateful to fantastic initiatives like the Heritage Lottery Fund and the millions of people who play the National Lottery that help keep these projects alive. Thanks to Polli:Nation, we can trust our future is in safe hands.”

Polli:Nation beat off competition from 700 entries to win £5,000 cash prize and an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and will have its work celebrated on a special BBC One programme to be broadcast on the 26 September.

National Lottery players raise £30 million a week for arts, sport, heritage and community good causes. For more information go to or follow the campaign on Twitter: hashtag #NLAwards.


Notes to editors

For further information please contact The National Lottery Awards: Ruairi O’Kane on 07788612804 or email Ruairi.o’

Pic caption: EastEnders star Nitin Ganatra with staff and pupils from Cumran Primary School, Clough, Co, Down and officials from the Polli:Nation initiative who have been voted Best Environment Project in the 2018 National Lottery Awards, the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded projects.

Beth Kerr, Nathan Trimble, Matthew Hamilton and Chloe Ward, pupils from Cumran Primary School in Clough, Co Down are buzzing to learn their involvement in the biodiversity initiative Polli:Nation has helped them win Best Environment Project in the 2018 National Lottery Awards as EastEnders star Nitin Ganatra (centre) flies in to present them with the award.

· Polli:Nation received £1.3 million of National Lottery funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

· To find out more about the National Lottery Awards please

· All voting was independently adjudicated and verified by Electoral Reform Services