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Oxfordshire wildlife team boosted by Building Communities Fund grant

The team behind a community-owned wildlife haven in Oxfordshire are ready to build on a surge in popularity after being handed a “lifeline” by housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel.

Volunteers at the Wychwood Wild Garden feared the worst as the nature reserve suffered a financial hit when vital fundraising activities – including a 10th birthday party - had to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It raised the prospect that the wildlife reserve – near celebrated Cotswolds town Burford - might have to close down over the summer – just when the 12.5 acres of woodland and garden were needed more than ever by local families and community groups amid lockdown restrictions.

But local businesspeople came to the rescue to support the volunteers, who insist it was only thanks to donations from community-spirited companies like Mactaggart & Mickel that it was able to remain open.

The volunteers say the £500 donation from Mactaggart & Mickel’s Building Communities Fund ensured they were able to welcome an unprecedented number of people from Milton and Shipton and surrounding villages.

Michael Watson, from the Wychwood Wild Garden, said: “It’s been a real struggle for us on the fundraising front so donations from our good friends like Mactaggart & Mickel have been a lifeline.

“It’s only thanks to their generous support that we’ve been able to keep Wychwood Wild Garden open because Covid-19 forced us to cancel the fundraising activities that are crucial to our existence.

“The garden has attracted more people than ever because of the coronavirus pandemic and the Mactaggart & Mickel donation has enabled us to build on its growing popularity across local communities.”

Joanne Casey, Managing Director at Mactaggart & Mickel (England), said: “We pride ourselves on being a family business that supports the communities where we are building homes.

“We know it’s places like the Wychwood Wild Garden and the people behind it that make rural Oxfordshire such a special place to call home so we thought it important to show our support for their sterling work.

“The garden enhances the area and is a key local facility in the picturesque Wychwoods area, providing a unique access to a natural environment within easy walking distance of our St Jude's Meadow development.”

Family-owned homebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel has a long history of supporting good causes. Their Building Communities Fund was established to enhance the company’s ongoing efforts to help organisations and projects which benefit peoples’ lives.

The company is actively involved in supporting local communities as part of its work to deliver new homes in Oxfordshire at St Jude’s Meadow and Childrey Park at East Challow, near Wantage.