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Tackling anxiety and isolation at home with Butterfly Conservation to find comfort in nature

Butterfly recording 2 crd Butterfly Conservation

AS we're all being encouraged to spend more time in our homes and feeling the worry and anxiety of 24/7 news coverage of the global pandemic, Butterfly Conservation is suggesting a way to look after your mental health by spending time in your garden or outdoor spaces. For those who are able to get outside, and who now perhaps have more opportunity to do so than normal, gardens across the UK are waking up to spring and there are plenty of species of butterfly to look out for.

Richard Fox, Associate Director (Recording and Research) at Butterfly Conservation suggests a few top butterfly species to spot: "There are a surprising number of species of butterfly which are coming out of hibernation ready for spring. In just the last few days we have had recorded sightings of Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral all getting active as the weather is warming. The 3 common White butterflies (Large, Small and Green veined) have also all been sighted already this year in the UK and before long it will be possible to see Orange Tips and Speckled Wood, both of which are early flying butterflies. We've not had any recorded sightings yet, but we'd love to receive one!  The Holly Blue is the only blue butterfly that people are likely to see in their gardens in suburban or urban areas, which should be flying before too long. There are moths flying at night too, though they are a little harder to see in large numbers before the weather starts really warming up."

Butterfly Conservation Chief Executive Julie Williams said:- "While it's crucial that we all stay safe and take steps to keep ourselves and others physically well at the moment, it's also important that we take care of our mental health too. Anxiety, isolation and feeling stuck at home can have detrimental effects for our mental health and we're encouraging anyone who can access an outdoor space to take a break in nature, while respecting the guidance on social distancing. There's so much life waking up for Spring in our gardens and outdoor spaces and many of us might have a bit more opportunity to explore them than usual. It's a proven fact that spending time in nature can have beneficial effects on your mental health. Take some mindful time to watch for our 1st Spring butterflies, record what you see and share it online. You could also plant some wildflower seeds now, ready for our summer pollinators."

Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at Mind, the mental health charity, said:- "We know being told to stay indoors and avoid others can be a very daunting prospect. There are a variety of things you can do to maintain wellbeing in these circumstances, 1 of which is engaging with nature and green space.  For many of us, we don't have access to our own green space in the form of a garden, so in this time of social distancing, we welcome Butterfly Conservation's suggestion of taking time to watch for the first Spring butterflies. Even something as simple as going to a local public park or sitting by a window to watch butterflies can be beneficial to our mental health."

If you'd like to take a break in nature, you can identify the butterflies in your garden on the Butterfly Conservation's website.

Stephen Buckley added:- "We'd also love you to share your sightings on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can also contribute your sightings online to the Garden Butterfly Survey scheme which is run by the Butterfly Conservation. Butterfly Conservation is the UK charity dedicated to saving butterflies, moths and our environment. Our research provides advice on how to conserve and restore habitats. We run projects to protect more than 100 threatened species and we are involved in conserving hundreds of sites and reserves."

Calor OFFERS ₤85,000 WORTH OF GRANTS TO RURAL communities through 2020 Rural Community fund

Chequers Kitchen in Deal benefitted from ₤2,500 from the Calor Rural Community Fund.

NOW in its 4th year, leading off grid energy supplier, Calor, is once again calling on worthy rural community projects of all shapes and sizes to enter its Rural Community Fund for 2020 and be in with the chance of securing grants from its ₤85,000 fund pot. Calor is celebrating its 85th Anniversary and is marking the milestone by making this year's investment bigger than ever before, with a grand total of ₤85,000. The competition applications are now open, but be fast as applications close on 9 April 2020, enables rural communities who aren't connected to the mains gas grid the opportunity to apply for a grant of either ₤1,000, ₤2,500 or ₤5,000 for much needed projects, such as purchasing new equipment for community spaces or building new facilities for families nearby to enjoy. Applicants will be listed on the Calor Rural Community Fund website and then encouraged to share their project as much as possible through social media to gain points. Those projects with the highest amount of points in each funding category will become shortlisted finalists, and will be reviewed by a Calor Committee before being announced as Finalists. As the business continues to play an important role within Britain's countryside communities, this year's fund will mean that Calor has given ₤225,000 to grass-roots causes since 2017, at a time where investment in local resources is especially tight. Designed to offer rural communities that aren't connected to the mains gas grid a chance to win funding for initiatives which will improve local life, Calor's grants have already had a massive impact on over 50 heart warming projects. Previous recipients include a community kitchen in Dover looking to combat loneliness, drama groups in Norfolk offering children a space to be creative and emergency rescue teams in Wiltshire who needed new life saving equipment.

Andy Parker, Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs at Calor, said:- "At a time when investment in local communities and facilities is scarce, we are again showing our support and passion for countryside communities through the Calor Rural Community Fund. We are delighted to continue this scheme as it provides a much needed boost to rural life, and so we would urge any local projects that need funding for anything from a new roof to essential repairs to enter this year's fund."

To find out more about the Calor Rural Community Fund and how to enter, head to:- CommunityFund.Calor.Co.UK.

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