Grow Wild, the UK’s biggest ever wild flower campaign, has been bringing people together from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life to create positive, lasting change in their community, according to research.
The research, conducted by Forest Research, shows the impact that the Grow Wild has made all over the UK, boosting community co-operation and inspiring people to do something positive for nature where they live. Grow Wild’s achievements have also earned it a place as a finalist for this year’s National Lottery Awards, where the public will vote for their favourite lottery-funded project.
To date, 3 million people have been involved from inner cities to the farthest reaches of the Scottish Highlands, sowing enough Grow Wild seeds to cover 3.7 million square metres. That’s enough to create a metre-wide path of wild flowers all the way from Land’s End to John o’ Groats… almost four times.
Forest Research conducted semi-structured interviews and focus groups with 135 people at Grow Wild community projects and flagship sites. The findings reveal people’s pride at working together on a common project with many saying that they had learned from one another, and felt that this cohesion was vital to improving their community.
Grow Wild has been supported with a £10.5 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund. Since 2014, 48% of community projects funded by Grow Wild have been from the 30% most deprived areas of the UK. In 2016 alone, 18% of funded projects were in the 10% most deprived areas (according to post code analysis using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation). Forest Research found that people in these most deprived areas got the most out of the programme, while Grow Wild’s seed kits are also having an especially significant impact there too. People who received a seed kit in more deprived areas were significantly more likely to say they learned about wild flowers and about their communities.
Many young people have got involved in sowing and growing wild flowers too, with almost 20% (over a quarter of a million) of Grow Wild’s free seed kits going to groups aged 12 to 25, and many funded projects specifically targeting this age group.
66,000 people took part in the Forest Research’s online survey after receiving a free packet of seeds from Grow Wild; 73% said they felt connected to something bigger, 61% spent time with their families, sowing seeds together, and 79% felt a greater sense of responsibility for native wildlife. As a result of receiving the Grow Wild seed kits, 87% of people felt their group learned about wild flowers and 22% went on to do something more for their community, like setting up a project or an event.
You can find out more about Forest Research’s evaluation of Grow Wild.