Tesco grant helps Stag Beetles thrive in Twickenham


Stag Beetle populations are thriving at Crane Park Island in Twickenham thanks to Tesco’s Bags of Help grant scheme, which has helped protect habitats for local wildlife at the reserve.

London Wildlife Trust was awarded £12,000 five years ago through Bags of Help as part of its “Wonderful Wildlife” scheme. The Trust was one of the very first community groups to benefit from the Bags of Help scheme, which is currently marking its 5th anniversary.

The grant has allowed staff at the reserve to carefully preserve habitats for local wildlife, and the introduction of loggeries has provided the perfect home for Stag Beetles.

The site, which was formerly used for gunpowder production in western Twickenham, now includes a wide variety of habitats for wildlife including woodland, reedbeds, ditches and ponds.

According to the People’s Trust For Endangered Species, Stag Beetles are “nationally scarce”, meaning efforts to preserve their population are now more important than ever.

Despite this, the reserve in Whitton falls within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames which is a known hotspot for Stag Beetles in the UK.

Thanks to the ‘Wonderful Wildlife’ project and Tesco’s Bags of Help grant, the outlook is now looking good for Stag Beetles at Crane Park Island.

Christina Sharp, Grants Officer at London Wildlife Trust said: “We’ve had a very busy few years. The Tesco grant allowed us to vastly improve the habitats at Crane Park, and as a result, we’re seeing huge increases in the amount of Stag Beetle larvae.

“Not only has the grant helped preserve the species, but it has also allowed us to educate visitors. Now we can show people first-hand how extraordinary Stag Beetles are, and we can even encourage them to make their own habitats in their back gardens using dead wood.

“We’re hugely grateful for the grant from Tesco and we hope we can continue to support local wildlife at the park, along with encouraging Stag Beetle populations to go from strength to strength.”

Over the last five years, 2,523 groups across London have had reason to celebrate after receiving grants from Bags of Help– which is celebrating its birthday this month. In Twickenham alone, 61 groups received grants worth up to £ £141,519 from the scheme.

Since the launch of scheme, which is run in partnership with community charity Groundwork, £86million in total has been donated to 37,000 projects across the UK.

Keith Jackson, Communications Manager at Tesco, said: “Over the last five years, we’ve been delighted to have been able to support so many charities, community groups and organisations from every corner of the UK.

“It was great to hear about how London Wildlife Trust has spent their grant, and we hope it encourages others to apply for support too.”

Graham Duxbury, CEO of Groundwork, said: “Working with Tesco has enabled us to make sure that much-needed funding reaches local groups who really need it.

“Together, over the last 12 months alone, we’ve been able to help a multitude of local organisations supporting our local communities through the pandemic, and we’re excited to see what the next five years, and beyond, will bring.”

The successful scheme is due to relaunch in April at Tesco Community Grants, and charities, community groups and not for profit organisations can still apply for a grant through Tesco’s charity partner Groundwork.