Thakeham has won the Community Engagement Project category in this year’s BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards.
Eddie & Ellie
Launched in 2021, award-winning “Eddie and Ellie’s Wild Adventures” is our cross-curriculum educational programme for lower Key Stage 2 pupils built around a children’s story book. In the book, brother and sister Eddie and Ellie, discover a magical magnifying glass in the shed at the bottom of the garden in their new home. An amazing adventure with British wildlife and habitats follows. Children and teachers from across the south have already enjoyed the programme, which aims to engage pupils on the importance of nature and wildlife. Using the book as a springboard, Eddie & Ellie’s Wild Adventures delivers a series of interactive ecology and environment themed workshops, site visits and a fully funded day at a Wildlife Trust Education Centre for each school.
The biodiversity engagement campaign has seen us collaborate in partnership with Wildlife Trusts in Surrey and Kent. Delivered by an enthusiastic and fully qualified teacher the programme seeks to maximise impact, with primary school teaching teams across Surrey, Sussex and Kent having utilised the diverse mix of visits, lessons and bespoke teaching aids to bring the natural environment to life across their curriculum objectives both during and after the delivery of programme events in school and at site.
Head Teacher, Caroline Mallet, said:
Thakeham’s partnership with St Mark and All Saints over the duration over their time in our community has resulted in several additional learning experiences for our children which demonstrated Thakeham’s commitment to making a lasting and meaningful impact on the school communities near their projects.
Our classes have learnt about local wildlife during site visits and taken part in a fully-funded trip to the Wildlife Trust site Nower Wood where they participated in activities such as pond-dipping and orienteering!
These experiences have equipped our children with the knowledge needed to make informed choices about how they interact with their environments.
Thakeham’s CEO, Rob Boughton, said:
We are especially proud to win this prestigious BIG Biodiversity Challenge Award. Educating future generations on the importance of wildlife and biodiversity is vital and Thakeham are committed to playing our part in halting the trend of children becoming dissociated from their natural environment.
Prior to the launch of Eddie and Ellie, there was a scarcity of fully-funded, curriculum based structured learning opportunities for primary-aged children about biodiversity. We wanted to solve the problem and come up with a programme that would relate to the important issues of sustainability and the natural environment. It was especially important to link opportunities to the national curriculum, whilst making learning fun.
Then we went further. We also offered a hands-on outdoor experience. This was especially important for children in areas with little access to nature.
The BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards
The BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards are organised by CIRIA (Construction Industry Research and Information Association) a neutral, independent and not-for-profit body that facilitates a range of collaborative activities that help improve the construction industry. CIRIAs Biodiversity Interest Group (BIG) specifically shares knowledge on biodiversity from various sectors within the construction industry.
They noted that the Eddie and Ellie programme goes above and beyond Thakeham’s required community engagement activity as a housebuilder, and the usual commitments of most developers, to improve biodiversity over the long-term through exciting education opportunities for young minds.
The Judges commented:
The judges found this project to be innovative, with a great intention behind it. Children’s engagement at primary school level is key to build biodiversity awareness. Thakeham Group’s target of 20% Biodiversity Net Gain adds a strong commitment to biodiversity.
The Eddie and Ellie’s Wild Adventures programme is a fundamental part of our social value strategy. Created in consultation with educational specialists, parents and children, Eddie and Ellie is curated to leave a lasting impact long after developments are completed through a legacy of children engaged with their environment.