Trust needs help with heath deal

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A WILDLIFE trust is asking for help from the public as it tries to complete the biggest land purchase in its history.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) is looking to buy the 426-acre Knettishall Heath site from Suffolk County Council in a £1.4 million deal.

The site, near Thetford, would become a nature reserve if the deal goes through.

But for that to happen, SWT needs a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to be approved and then to raise a further £100,000 under its own steam.

Michael Strand, community fund-raising manager, said the trust wanted members of the public to donate both time and money to help push the deal through.

“Knettishall Heath is a nationally important habitat and it’s a rare opportunity to buy such a significant chunk of Breckland heath.

“People feel great ownership for local areas and they are often the best placed to keep their eyes and ears on the ground so we want their help,” he said.

The trust is expecting a decision on its Lottery funding bid in early January.

After that point, it will have four weeks to raise the £100,000 it needs to complete the deal.

Mr Strand said: “Fingers crossed we will get the funding and then we want people to pledge what they can and come forward with fund-raising ideas of their own.

“We want people to recognise that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Donations have already been pledged from residents, according to Mr Strand.

The trust has also been in touch with a number of groups with an interest in the site, including local schools.

The site would focus strongly on conservation and would remain open to the public for recreational activities.

To find out how you can contribute, call Michael Strand at Suffolk Wildlife Trust on 01473 890089 or email michael.strand@suffolkwildlifetrust.org