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AGM, annual round-up, and all our gratitude!

Thanks to everyone that came to the AGM last night.

Was lovely to see many familiar faces, and some new!

We don't write annual reports, but here's some of the details from the past year.

We’ve had 18 public conservation sessions, and 6 corporate work groups on team building or staff away days, as well as several committee only volunteer days.

We have been lucky enough to see hundreds of volunteers, both new and regular faces, giving up thousands of hours to help keep the reserve as wildlife friendly as possible.

The outreach work we’ve done in the last year has been amazing, We’ve now got better relationships with both of the local universities. We visited the UoS Public Engagement science and engineering event where we gave away dozens and dozens of birdboxes that Terry made with the children. Mac attended and spoke at the Uni of Southampton’s Environmental Education Network, which helped us to connect with schools and other local charities. I gave a presentation to around 40 Uni staff as a part of a project to co-create a new nature and wildlife-themed visual art and music resource, and we’ve been asked to partner with them on their next project.

At Solent University, Southampton we ran a stall at their second ever Environment Day, which has already paid dividends as we’ve had two Solent film crews come down and document the work we do, and interview several volunteers young and old.

We’ve also had great engagement with local colleges. For the first time ever, we had Itchen College Community come down for their first ever work experience week. We’ve also reached beyond Southampton into Eastleigh College and are working with the Early English Language students to do team building activities, to help them with their employability skills.

We’ve hosted half a dozen practical and educational sessions for a local home school group with young people with Autism.

On top of the 10 Nature Watch sessions that Joanne lead with Emily Bridges, Rae, Gem Paul and now Jill Doubleday, we also hosted 5 evening youth groups of Rainbows, Brownies, Beavers, and Cubs.

We have helped the Southampton Voluntary Services Green Forum, presenting at a meeting, and being a member of their steering group.

We’ve had hundreds of visitors come from across Hampshire for our free community events. Getting people to engage in nature and understand more about the environment.

We had our third and biggest Apple Day, this year with Sparsholt College apple experts. With a busy foraging walk.

Our Bat Walk sold out in record time: Thanks to Surender host being our resident bat expert.

We hosted a guided walk for a theatre group working with young carers on a Climate change project.

Val Wells was yet again leading our biggest event, making the Spring Fayre incredible, and Karen Pound-Smith who pulled out all the stops and organised our best Xmas Fayre to raise money and awareness.

This year even saw a publication celebrating nature with the Big Book of Spring! Thank you to Rae Turpin for all your hard work! If you'd like to see it we have copies at the centre, and they are available online. Link here

We’ve been on the radio a few times, on podcasts, and even on the TV when we even had Megan McCubbin come back to the site, the first time since she was a little girl coming with Chris Packham. When the BBC filmedd for the BBC Bitesize: The Regenerators project.

We started the year well, with Community Chest money from Southampton City Council to cover our overheads. We were also Lucky enough to be awarded additional money from the Council’s Protecting Communities Fund.

Garfield Weston Foundation generously awarded us money which helped pay for the toilet adaptions.

Our new Benevity account has been an easy way for the public to give us donations.

We’ve also been successful in applying for several hundred trees from Eforest, The Woodland Trust, and @The Conservation Volunteers - Hampshire

And also had a regular top up of funds from SO:Lotto

We’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2023.

With new people, new projects and new challenges.

We’ll be working with artists and researchers on exciting new projects. Including one with Rae, around litter picking and community. And another with Uni of Southampton to help create a resource with a small group of care home staff.

We’d love for more volunteers to come forward and help us make 2023 the best year ever.

If there are any suggestions for what we should be doing more of, we'd love to talk to you.

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