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6 Jun 2023

Many hands make light work

Written by Paul Williams, Communications Executive
A group of men and women gather round a lady kneeling in a field. She holds a large cheque, made out for £800,000. Tall mountains rise in the background.
People’s Postcode Lottery joined our Volunteers’ Week activity at Ben Lawers NNR to celebrate continued funding through the Postcode Earth Trust.
We celebrated the start of Volunteers’ Week on Thursday 1 June by heading out to Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve to assist with the preparation for a new conservation project.

Volunteers’ Week is the national awareness week to celebrate the contributions made by volunteers across the UK, as well as the wider benefits of becoming a volunteer. Members of our team, along with staff from People’s Postcode Lottery, visited Ben Lawers NNR near Killin, Perthshire, to help remove fencing in preparation for a new conservation project.

This project has been inspired by the successful use of GPS software in the collars of cows for conservation grazing on the Trust’s Threave Estate. It encourages cattle to graze in a specific area of the nature reserve, which benefits open ground habitats and promotes natural regeneration of woodland and scrub.

It was recently announced that People’s Postcode Lottery would continue to support our vital conservation work at the National Nature Reserves in our care through additional funding from the Postcode Earth Trust. This is all thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have now raised more than £1.1 billion for thousands of charities and local good causes. Since 2014, the Trust has been very grateful to have received a total of over £2.5m in support of our work to enrich and protect Scotland’s natural heritage.

Funding from the Love Our Nature project by People’s Postcode Lottery has been confirmed for 2023/24. This will support conservation activity at Ben Lawers NNR, including the appointment of two seasonal staff: ecologist Lewis Donaghy, who will monitor mountain plant life on the reserve’s seven Munros, and ranger James McGurk, who will meet with visitors, carry out vital maintenance work on footpaths and contribute to the pioneering habitat restoration.

Helen Cole, National Trust for Scotland Property Manager at Ben Lawers, said: ‘As a conservation charity, we benefit from the generous support of a host of volunteers, who give up their time to help us care for and protect some of Scotland’s most important natural and cultural heritage. Over 2,000 volunteers work alongside members of the Trust’s staff throughout the year at our historic properties and countryside places, like Ben Lawers. They assist with collections care, visitor engagement, and important habitat restoration and conservation work.’

“Volunteering provides a great opportunity to give something back. It also brings positive benefits to health and wellbeing, with volunteers learning new skills and boosting their self-esteem.”
Helen Cole
Property Manager, Ben Lawers NNR
A woman stands on a mountainside, taking notes on a pad of paper balanced on her knee. A loch and mountains can be seen in the background. The sun's rays gleam through the clouds.

Helen continued: ‘Alongside the support of our members and donors, the additional funding provided through the Love Our Nature project by People’s Postcode Lottery enhances the work of the Trust. It helps us to advance our species monitoring, habitat restoration and regeneration work, allowing us to preserve Scotland’s landscapes and wildlife for future generations to enjoy. This funding has also enabled the Trust to leverage further support from our donors by reaching a wider supporter base, for which we’re very grateful. Conservation projects at our National Nature Reserves support our objectives to improve the condition of our estate, enrich Scotland’s protected heritage and enable nature to flourish, as outlined in our 10-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone.’

Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery Laura Chow said: ‘We’re delighted that members of our staff were able to assist the Trust by volunteering and lending their support to the team at Ben Lawers. It’s thanks to the generous support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery that we are able to support vital work taking place across Scotland to maintain and protect our natural landscape, now and into the future.’

A length of removed wire fencing lies on the ground, beside a row of fence posts. A figure and some tall hills can be seen in the distance.
A long stretch of fencing was removed to make way for cattle, who’ll be arriving at Ben Lawers as part of a new grazing conservation project inspired by the Threave Landscape Project.

We provide a variety of opportunities to volunteer at places across the length and breadth of the country. If you would like to lend your support, you can find further details about volunteering either at your local National Trust for Scotland property or by visiting our Volunteering page on our website.

The work at Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve is one of many projects contributing to the National Trust for Scotland’s 10-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone, launched in 2022. It supports our conservation objectives, to stabilise and improve the condition of its estate, enable nature to flourish and enrich Scotland’s protected heritage.

Our Strategy

Our new strategy – Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone – provides a framework for the future of the National Trust for Scotland as we look towards our centenary in 2031.