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Heal to create first ever virtual rewilding world

15/4/2021

The national rewilding charity Heal is kicking off its second year with The Heal Appeal, running on the Crowdfunder platform at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/healappeal.


The crowdfunder will support the creation of the first ever virtual rewilding world, which will introduce younger, digital-native generations to rewilding, and a mesmerising short film, featuring a young and brilliant performance poet and dancer, Safiya Kinshasa Samara. The film will reach more diverse audiences and increase awareness of Heal's work in artistic and creative communities.


An award-winning film maker, Robbie Sloan, brought both these concepts to Heal last year. The charity saw their potential for reaching new audiences and broadening public support for rewilding and for Heal's work, and is using the crowdfunder to make the projects possible.


The virtual world is being developed by a top digital and creative design agency, Roll Studio, and the award-winning strategic consultancy Franses is preparing a powerful and far-reaching communications and influencer campaign across both projects.


The crowdfunder aims to raise £180,000 and runs until 10 May. Pre-launch pledges reached £62,000.


Rewilding is an amazing way to help nature recover and to fight climate change. In a country facing one of the worst wildlife crises in the world – the UK ranks as the 189th most nature-depleted country – more people need to know that rewilding can make a big difference, and to lend their support financially and as volunteers.

Heal's mission is to buy land at scale for rewilding in every English county, with an eventual target of at least 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) by 2050. Its goal is to create its first rewilding site in the south of the country by 2022.


The celebrity chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is backing The Heal Appeal. He said: “I'm supporting Heal's campaign because I believe rewilding can help us help combat climate change and address the devastating loss of biodiversity that we've been experiencing here in Britain for the last few decades.”


The multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster is also donating time to the campaign. Up to five people who each pledge £5,000 can have a one-to-one conversation with him either via Zoom or in person over a cup of tea at River Cottage HQ. He will talk about his approach to food, farming and sustainable living, and his writing, campaigning and broadcasting over the past 30 years.


“I will give these wonderful people my undivided attention and they will be welcome to discuss their own projects and ideas,” he said.


Jan Stannard, Heal's co-founder, said: “The idea of bringing rewilding into the virtual world is completely novel and hugely exciting, and the film is going to be stunning. These amazing creative projects will galvanise the much wider support needed if nature in the UK is to recover, and will transform awareness of Heal's work. We have to pull out all the stops to fix the terrifying loss of wildlife in our countryside.”


Heal was launched in March 2020 to raise money, buy land and rewild it, creating new havens for wildlife and combating climate change. After establishing its first site in the south of England, it plans to create a second site in the north of England. Each site of 500 acres (200 hectares) or more with buildings will cost between £5 million and £7 million to buy, financed through donations, grants and loans. Heal's sites will be self-supporting, generating revenue from ecotourism, educational courses, events and more, creating new jobs and bringing economic benefit to local communities. Heal's website is at www.healrewilding.org.uk.

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