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Michaela Strachan creates a buzz around National Lottery award-winning project

3rd November 2021

Autumnwatch presenter Michaela Strachan has honoured a Derbyshire project dedicated to protecting local bumblebees with a National Lottery Award.

Pollinating the Peak, a Derbyshire-based initiative run by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, has won the inaugural Project of the Year trophy at this year’s National Lottery Awards in recognition of its work inspiring and educating communities, schools and individuals about these important insects.

The annual National Lottery Awards celebrate the people and projects across the UK who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

Pollinating the Peak beat off stiff competition from around 1500 projects to make this year’s public voting stage, where it faced further competition from 16 other finalists.

After the four-week voting window came to an end last month, Pollinating the Peak emerged as this year's Project of the Year winners with almost 4,000 votes online and on social media.

Bumblebees play a vital part in pollinating plants, but according to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the UK’s bumblebee population has plummeted over the last 80 years, leading to serious concerns about the future of our ecosystem.

That’s why the charity established Pollinating the Peak, a project which aims to reverse the terminal decline of bumblebees in the Peak District area while educating the public about the importance of these insects and how best to care for them.

The project has worked to secure the future of the Bilberry bumblebee, a Peak District priority species, and other local bumblebees by improving habitat conditions and monitoring bumblebee populations.

This vital project was given a huge boost thanks to £967,200 of National Lottery funding, which has helped it engage with more than 20,000 people across the Peak District over the last five years.

This support from the National Lottery has enabled the project to deliver bumblebee workshops in schools, provide free online resources and create the hugely popular ‘What’s that bumblebee’ app.

Michaela Strachan awards Pollinating the Peak

Sally Cuckney, Project Manager at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust said: “We’re honoured to have won this National Lottery Award and we’re so thrilled that so many people voted to help us win Project of the Year.

“With the help and support from the National Lottery, we have engaged thousands of people across Derbyshire to help raise awareness, provide habitat and skills for people to love and care for our precious bumblebees, especially the Bilberry bumblebee.”

Pollinating the Peak will receive a £3,000 cash prize, along with an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.

Autumnwatch presenter Michaela Strachan travelled to Chesterfield to present the group with its trophy.

She added: “The decline of our bumblebees is hugely concerning, so it's incredibly encouraging to meet people who so obviously care and enthusiastically educate others in such an engaging and positive way.

“By spreading the word and empowering people to make a difference, Pollinating the Peak has made an important contribution to UK bumblebee conservation. It's thanks to National Lottery players that funding can continue to help this project and so many other projects and charities all over the country.”

From bumblebee surveys in their own back yards to embarking on careers as conservationists, the inspiring Pollinating the Peak project has enabled so many people to make a positive impact for bumblebees and their habitats. It has never been more important for us all to take action for the future of our natural world and National Lottery funding for projects such as this remains vital. Congratulations to everyone involved, this award is well deserved.

Ros Kerslake CBE, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million is raised each week for good causes across the UK, which in turn helps projects like Pollinating the Peak to carry out incredible work in their communities.

Notes to editors

  • Pollinating the Peak received £967,200 of National Lottery funding through the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
  • Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised more than £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK - the equivalent of more than 225 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.
  • For more information about projects funded by The National Lottery or The National Lottery Awards visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and follow the campaign on Twitter: @LottoGoodCauses #NLAwards