A CONSERVATION project which aims to connect people to the natural world and encourage pride in the area has been granted £250,000.

Tendring Loves Conservation is set to launch this summer with a programme of engagement and community-led site improvements.

The project received the money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will run for two years, although organisers hope the programme will establish activities, relationships and behaviours which will continue long after the project ends.

It will be led by Essex Wildlife Trust which wants to support groups of children, parents, schools and adults who are least likely to have access to nature.

It wants to give these groups the tools and support they need to feel connected with nature in their area.

Several of the trust’s nature reserves in the area will play a key part in the project including Wrabness nature reserve and the Naze Nature Discovery Centre and Great Holland Pits reserve.

Judith Metcalfe, education and community officer at Essex Wildlife Trust, said she can’t wait for people to start enjoying nature.

She said: “We are excited about this project. Tendring is bountiful in natural beauty and we want to encourage as many people to experience it and benefit from it as we can.

“Everyone should feel confident in exploring their green spaces, and we can’t wait to help more people in the community be able to enjoy it.”

The trust is also working in partnership with the University of Essex to measure the impact spending time in nature can have on your wellbeing and how repeated visits can develop your sense of nature connectedness.

Dr Carly Wood, lecturer in sport and exercise science at the university, said: “We are delighted to be working with the trust to evaluate the impact of its project on engagement and connection to nature within the community, and exploring the health benefits of the range of nature-based activities being provided to residents.”

As part of the project, outdoor learning programmes will be available including nature clubs, forest school training and greening the school grounds initiative.

Anne Jenkins, of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “National Lottery players have highlighted natural heritage as especially important, which is why we are proud to award Essex Wildlife Trust and Tendring Loves Conservation."