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Bettys grant to benefit nature in Ilkley

Conservation group members Mel and Ross measuring up at Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve

Bettys & Taylors has pledged its support to improve nature conservation in the Lower Wharfe Valley.

Local disability charity Open Country is the latest recipient of a grant from Bettys' Trees for Life Fund which aims to support projects that make a difference to the Yorkshire landscape.

The company has donated over £3,300 to Open Country, which will pay for nine days of conservation work at parks and nature reserves across Lower Wharfedale as well as the purchase of plants and saplings to create new habitats for nature. The money will also pay for Open Country's expertise in opening up the sites to more people, including building an accessible nature trail at Ben Rhydding Nature Reserve in Ilkley and work at Gallows Hill and the Chevin in Otley and at Parkinsons Park in Guiseley.

The charity has already carried out six days of conservation work at the sites and will be inviting some of the team from Bettys Cafe in Ilkley to join them to finish the work once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Open Country has 30 years of experience in supporting its members with disabilities and other complex needs to access the countryside through a variety of difference outdoor activities. The charity's Trailblazers conservation group provides a safe and therapeutic environment for the members to enjoy being outdoors, learn new skills and make a difference to nature.

Sally Hobson, Countryside Activities Officer, says: "Nature is the big winner with this grant, which will be used to improve habitats for many species including birds, bugs and small mammals. But the project will also benefit generations of local families and visitors who visit the sites for fresh air and exercise. We are very grateful for Bettys' support and hope to invite some of the staff along in the future to see our work in action."

The Bettys Trees for Life Fund, administered by the Two Ridings Community Foundation, was launched during the business's centenary year to celebrate their long term passion for trees, the local environment and improving access to the green spaces around us. Jan Garrill, CEO of the Two Ridings Community Foundation said: "We are very proud to be working with Bettys and also very proud of the groups funded, like Open Country, who show how small grants can make a huge difference to the lives of local people and the environment in which we all live."

For more information about Open Country visit and to find out more about Bettys' Trees for Life Fund visit

Open Country's Conservation Group at Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Nature Reserve


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