Southern Housing Group visitors clean up for Natural Wight

A Southern Housing residents group from Northbourne, Godalming made an extra-special contribution during a Natural Wight day-trip to the Island last week – by litter-picking the beach at beautiful Shepherd’s Chine.

Around 40 people, kids included, joined The Footprint Trust and Natural Wight to help collect an enormous 20 bags of litter from just this one stretch of the Island’s south coast. Island inventor Dan Roberts was on hand to help children create flotsam boats from cuttlefish, seagull feathers and some of the biodegradable litter for a boat race along the Chine’s stream. The Footprint Trust’s Ray Harrington-Vail pointed out, ‘Surprisingly, most of the litter on our beaches is more likely to have been washed ashore from boats at sea rather than been left by visitors – some of the litter we removed may have come from as far away as China or Japan.’

Rachel Jagger-Thomas, Project Manager explained ‘Southern Housing Group’s Northbourne residents joined us for a Natural Wight day – a chance to discover the more natural side of the island not always accessible on day-trips. Chines are a unique and fascinating part of the Island environment, and so it was great to be able to give the group the opportunity to explore one of the Island’s hidden gems, literally tucked away on the South Coast. Our visitors were also keen to make an active contribution to the Island and so litter-picked their own picnic spot! Natural Wight, run through Spectrum Medina, was awarded £96,670 through Access to Nature, a scheme run by Natural England and funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The project encourages people to enjoy Island nature, as well as learn how to look after it. Southern Housing Group have also contributed to the project so this was a real joint effort all round. We’d also like to thank Southern Co-op at Freshwater who were really helpful in donating bin bags and bottled water for the beach clean.’

Natural Wight have plenty going on this summer and autumn – join us for our Geocaching day on Brading Down (Viewpoint car park next to ice cream van!) on 23rd August or pop on your wellies and come pond-dipping at Treefields Pond, Binstead Road, Ryde on 25th August – look out for details of these and other Natural Wight summer events in the What’s On section of or visit; alternatively, you can contact the Natural Wight team on 01983 524275 or to find out more.

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Notes to Editor
1. About Natural Wight
Natural Wight Project has been funded by the Access to Nature Programme. For more information on Medina Housing Association’s Natural Wight project, please contact Rachel Jagger-Thomas, Natural Wight Project Manager or Claire Hector, Natural Wight Project Co-ordinator on 01983 824275,

2. About Access to Nature
Access to Nature is run by Natural England and is part of The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments.

Natural England manages this £28.75 million Lottery-funded programme on behalf of a consortium of twelve national environmental organisations comprising BTCV, British Waterways, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenspace, Groundwork UK, Land Restoration Trust, The National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust.

Through this programme, it is Natural England’s ambition to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds to have greater access to our natural environment and bring a lasting change to their awareness and understanding as well as improved links to the natural world, which many of us can take for granted.

Access to Nature closed to new applications in May 2010 but for further information about the programme visit

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.

Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website:”