Residents and the family owners of The Elms retirement park in Lincolnshire won their MP’s vote of confidence this month for helping to protect the natural world.
Sir Edward Leigh MP visited the Torksey park to congratulate everyone on their success in winning the 2019 David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level.
Sir Edward, who represents the Gainsborough constituency, told park director Tracey Coulson that wildlife and conservation were subjects in which he takes a keen interest. For that reason, he said, being able to visit The Elms to discover more about what has been achieved was an opportunity he very much welcomed. Announcing his award, David Bellamy said that The Elms had created “a wildlife wonderland” in its 65-acre grounds, and fully deserved the scheme’s highest honour.
According to Tracey Coulson, the credit for the gold accolade needed to be shared with those who live in the 340 park homes at The Elms:
“We are given the most fantastic support from residents for our conservation work, and many make their own important contributions to what we do,” she said.
“From harvesting rainfall in butts for watering plants to putting up bird boxes and feeding stations in their gardens, it all has a positive impact on the environment. Many say they chose to live here because of their love of nature and for unspoiled surroundings, so we’re so very lucky to have such an amazing green team working with us!” added Tracey.
Owned by the Kinch family for over 35 years, The Elms was selected for the gold award following an in-depth audit by David Bellamy’s wildlife assessors.
Among the many highlights mentioned were the large areas of wildflower plantings which provide vital foraging for endangered honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Recently, the park installed three beehives of its own and is learning from a professional beekeeper how to care for them in a natural, chemical-free way. Honey is occasionally harvested and sold on the park, and the money raised goes to support the appeal set up by residents to fund their minibus.
Professor Bellamy also praised the park’s installation of bird, owl and bat boxes throughout the grounds, plus the “bug hotels” which provide habitats for beneficial insects.
David Bellamy said that The Elms had also proved itself a good neighbour to the surrounding area, supporting many local charities, good causes and nearby schools. As well as his main accolade, the park also received three extra commendations for protecting honey bees, taking care of its hedgerows, and creating new woodland habitats.
Tracey Coulson said that everyone at The Elms was thrilled to know that their wildlife and conservation efforts were being supported by Britain’s best-known conservationist. She added that the family was delighted that Sir Edward had taken time out discover more about the park’s policies to protect the natural environment, and to offer his congratulations.
There is more information about the park on its website at www.elmsretirementpark.co.uk