A wildlife-friendly farmer’s efforts in contributing towards the conservation of UK wildlife have been recognised with an accolade at the Third Sector Business Charity Awards 2016.

Vine House Farm picked up the ‘Charity Partnership Small Business Award’ for its achievements and the impacts its partnership with The Wildlife Trusts is having on wildlife in the UK.

Fourth-generation farmer Nicholas Watts has been working the land at Vine House Farm in Deeping St Nicholas in Lincolnshire, since he was a boy.  His passion for birds has shaped his method of wildlife-friendly farming, and led to Vine House Farm’s partnership with The Wildlife Trusts in 2007.  Through this partnership, five per cent of bird food sales are donated to Vine House Farm customers’ Wildlife Trusts near them, resulting in more than £1,000,000 received by The Wildlife Trusts by 2015.

Nicholas Watts MBE, said: “At Vine House Farm, we have always had a clear vision which still holds true today: farming in a way that encourages wildlife and the wide range of habitats it needs.  Our aspirations have always been to contribute to the conservation of wildlife through the growth of various wild bird foods and our support of local charities.  We’re thrilled that this has been acknowledged on a national level at the Business Charity Awards.

“We strongly believe that our longstanding partnership with The Wildlife Trusts will help safeguard the natural world we live in for generations to come.  You don’t need to be a large business to make a significant impact to a worthy cause, as we have shown.  We are proud to have been recognised for our conservation efforts with a Business Charity Award win.”

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:  “It is great that our partnership with Vine House Farm has been recognised in this way.

“When choosing a partner for birdseed sales we were looking for a supplier who the 47 individual Wildlife Trusts could welcome wholeheartedly. This was not just about a high quality product but about being a company that was aligned to our values and who we could trust completely. Vine House Farm proved to be both.  Nicholas Watts and his family have been a joy to work with.  Their passion and commitment to the cause of wildlife conservation matches that or our movement, as does their honesty and integrity.

“It is not just that Nicholas recognised the terrible impact that modern farming methods were having on the birds he had grown to love as a child, but he had the courage to act on his findings, to change things and to influence others to do the same.   In this way he has made a meaningful difference to wildlife in Lincolnshire.

“Now through this partnership he has not only ensured countless people across the UK are feeding their birds high quality seed, but he has donated over a million pounds to The Wildlife Trusts to do even more for the natural world.  This has meant we can bring the joy of nature closer to many more people.  The future of wildlife in the UK, with this our own health and prosperity, depends on there being people with the vision and courage that Nicholas has in abundance.”

Nicholas’ bird-watching hobby became part of his work in 1992, leading to an MBE – for his wildlife conservation work and wildlife-friendly farm management – and many other awards.  Over the last 20 years, thanks to wildlife-friendly measures put in place at the farm, barn owl and whitethroat numbers have quadrupled and tree sparrow and lapwing numbers increased ten-fold.

Contact information:
Anna Guthrie, Media & PR Manager, The Wildlife Trusts
Office: 01636 670075 / Mobile: 07887 754659 / Email: aguthrie@wildlifetrusts.org

Charlotte Yeung, Marketing Manager, Vine House Farm
Tel: 01775 630208 / email: charlotte@vinehousefarm.co.uk