Nominated for Big Biodiversity Challenge award

Another week, another award

Thanks to Eddie & Ellie, Ciria have put us forward for the best Community Engagement Project as part of the Big Biodiversity Challenge awards!

It’s amazing to see our work towards social value and biodiversity being recognised on a wider scale. These core values are essential to what we do as a community creator, ensuring it’s not just the developments we are so proud of, but also the community and surrounding environment which will flourish in generations to come.


The Eddie & Ellie project

As many of you are aware, Eddie and Ellie’s Wild Adventures is an educational programme of workshops for primary aged children across the South East. We facilitated with the Wildlife Trust, allowing us to get involved with local schools in the area we build homes, teaching pupils on the importance of nature and wildlife.

Designed as a cross-curriculum educational programme for lower Key Stage 2 students, the book captivates a colourful world through a child’s eyes. Focusing on engaging them with wildlife and introducing them to a set of interesting characters.

Fully funded by Thakeham, including all learning materials and a free Wildlife Trust education day, the programme comprises a series of workshops, site visits and a school trip to a Wildlife Trust facility.

Some examples of the activities we provide include pond dipping and orienteering featuring activities, following a development’s ecosystem journey from planning to site completion.

Enhancing Biodiversity conditions in the local environment

Since launching Eddie & Ellie there was a scarcity of fully funded, structured learning opportunities for primary-aged children that related to the important issues of sustainability and the natural environment. Creating these opportunities tied into the national curriculum and offered a hands-on outdoor experience.

The Eddie and Ellie programme is an addition to Thakeham’s required community engagement activity and the usual commitments of most developers. This is to improve biodiversity over the long term through exciting educational opportunities for young minds.


What were the reasons behind this project?

According to Hoop, 83% of children cannot recognise a bumblebee. Delivering social value whilst enhancing and protecting the natural world is an intrinsic part of Thakeham’s culture.

We are a Pioneer member of Social Value UK, the professional body for social value, and The Eddie & Ellie’s Wild Adventures programme reflects this core value by making it a fundamental part of our social value strategy.

This drives one of four key goals – ‘Building future generations.’ Created in consultation with educational specialists, parents and children, Eddie & Ellie is curated to leave a lasting impact long after developments are completed through a legacy of children engaged with the environment surrounding them.


The Biodiversity measures we have taken

Our workshops are delivered by a qualified primary school teacher whose knowledge of curriculum science and geography topics supports the local ecology-focused content to maximise value.

Offering a Google Classroom facility providing safe and secure access to learning materials, with physical books and merchandise also gifted to the children. The result is a greater depth of understanding, in line with the national curriculum, via practical and engaging personalised experiences that children may otherwise miss out on.

The programme is being rolled out across all developments. We believe in providing equal opportunities to all students who may not have been able to experience nature as much as others. St Mark & All Saints Primary is one of the many schools we have held these workshops.

The project, alongside our biodiversity net gain target of 20% across our sites, will help improve biodiversity not only within our red line boundaries, but over the long term and across communities.


More about Eddie & Ellie

Since launching our workshops in 2021, the programme has received great feedback and continued to run even during the pandemic. Five schools in five locations where we build are currently undertaking the programme, with another five due to start in September 2022; 113 children have benefited so far.

Our ambition is now to roll out the programme across each and every live site, undertaking outreach to the primary schools closest to our developments and engaging with local council partners to increase our reach and bring Eddie & Ellie to as many children as possible in our communities.


Thank you very much for organising and for delivering today’s workshop it was fab! The children had a great time and were so keen to finish their storyboards in the afternoon.

Nicola Moss, class teacher at Lenham Primary School.

These experiences…have equipped our children with the knowledge needed to make informed choices about how they interact with their environments

Caroline Mallet, headteacher at St Mark & All Saints Primary School

Set up well to engage and interest readers in wildlife and has good detail and touches of humour…well done!

Peter Campbell, associate adviser, West Sussex County Council

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