Orbit joins forces with the Wildlife Trusts to tackle biodiversity challenge

Orbit has partnered with The Wildlife Trusts to run a campaign encouraging customers to increase the wildlife and nature in their private outdoor spaces. This customer-focused project complements Orbit’s existing partnership with The Wildlife Trusts which looks at how Orbit can enhance communal outdoor spaces across existing estates.

The ‘Wildlife Outside Your Window’ pack designed to connect customers with nature, contains tips and advice to encourage wildlife.

The customer campaign includes the launch of a ‘Wildlife Outside Your Window’ pack designed to connect customers with nature, containing tips and advice to encourage wildlife.  Customers can also claim a free packet of wildflower seeds which can be sown in the Autumn or Spring.

Alongside this work Orbit is running a pilot project with The Wildlife Trusts across four  representative estates to explore how biodiversity in its communal outdoor areas can be enhanced. The aim of the project is to identify existing and potential future green spaces and assets such as trees and wildlife corridors, and create a practical toolkit of categorised Orbit estate habitats with suggested improvements, alongside training, to enhance the outdoor space for wildlife - an approach which aligns with The Wildlife Trusts’ 30by30 campaign.

Jessica Marshall, Environmental Change Manager at Orbit, explains: “Supporting biodiversity by enhancing our open spaces and taking a new look at how we maintain them, is a key objective of our environmental sustainability programme, Orbit Earth. Whilst we are already working with The Wildlife Trusts on this, with around 45,000 homes across 2,000 estates, we felt there was a huge opportunity for us to engage our customers and try and positively influence the private spaces within our communities too.

“We know from the recent study that we published in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Housing, that our customers really value their outdoor space. 85% of the 900 customers we surveyed for the study said that they enjoyed spending time in nature either in local green spaces or their garden, whilst 92% believe it is very or fairly important to have access to green space within a 10 min walk.

“By utilising the expertise of The Wildlife Trusts, we’ve created a really practical booklet filled with tips and simple ideas about how customers can help welcome more wildlife into their communities and provide a thriving environment for both nature and residents. Not only will this have obvious benefits for local wildlife, there is proven evidence to show that people connecting with nature improves mental wellbeing and of course being outdoors has a positive impact on physical health too. With over 600 requests for the booklets and seeds on the first day alone, we’re really thrilled with the response from customers so far.”

Thirzah McSherry, Director of Marketing and Communications at The Wildlife Trusts added: “Local wildlife is in serious decline and there are small steps everyone can take to help it recover. We’re calling for at least 30% of land and sea in the UK to be improved and protected so that nature can become abundant once again, and with gardens, yards, balconies and window boxes covering an estimated 5% of the UK, the way they are cared for can make a big difference in contributing to nature’s recovery.”

As part of the initiative, Orbit customers are also being encouraged to take part in a wildlife photo competition for a chance to win a bird box camera, DIY bee hotel or a nature book. 

Details of Orbit’s joint study with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) – ‘Working with customers to make net zero carbon a reality’, which was recently launched at the CIH annual conference in Manchester can be found at: https://orbitgroup.org.uk/media/news/2021/september/working-with-customers-to-make-net-zero-carbon-a-reality/

As part of the study, Orbit gathered the views of 900 customers to help understand the views of social rented households’ priorities around the net zero carbon agenda, as well as to examine what matters to them in relation to their environment.