Polzeath Bags of Help!

Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT) are delighted to announce that our partner organisation Polzeath Marine Conservation Group (PMCG) has bagged £5000 from a Tesco funding scheme ‘Bags of Help’.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of up to £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Millions of shoppers voted in stores up and down the country. And it can now be revealed PMCG has been awarded £5000, half of which will be used for boat based research.

Work will now begin on bringing the project to life. This will include quarterly Polzeath Photo ID Project (POLPIP) marine life and human activity boat surveys in collaboration with everyone at CSGRT www.cornwallsealgroup.co.uk and Atlantic Diving  www.atlanticdiver.co.uk, interactive equipment for PMCG’s amazing public Marine Centre in Polzeath and the continuation of PMCG’s fantastic annual programme of events.

1 Inspiring team2 Puffin

POLPIP surveyors removed this net from the sea in April 2017       A rare sight in Cornish waters – our bird experts recorded this puffin!

Vickie Toland – Chair of the PMCG said “this is a wonderful opportunity for the conservation group. We are thrilled to have been awarded the top prize and hope to improve and extend our already fantastic work within Polzeath. Thank you to everyone who voted for us” Lindsey Crompton, Tesco’s Head of Community, said “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from our customers. The great thing about Bags of Help is that local people are invited to decide how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life. Tesco is a team of 480,000 colleagues, in 11 markets around the world. We are dedicated to serving shoppers a little better every day. Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has awarded more than £28.5 million across more than 4,000 local projects. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding. Bags of Help criteria have recently been extended to include any project that benefits the community. Previously the scheme funded outdoor projects only.”

4 Shag with lost fishing gear nest7 Entangled seal

This is why we record lost fishing gear on our surveys – shags risk using gear in their nest (left) and seals become entangled (right)

Voting ran in stores throughout February with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check-out. PMCG were out in force placing votes and encouraging others to support their incredible community work looking after one of our main assets – our marine and coastal environment.

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said “Bags of Help continues to fund thousands of projects across the UK. We want to ensure that the money raised benefits as many local people in as many different places as possible so we’ve extended the range of groups and projects that we can support. The scale and variety of activities supported by Bags of Help shows what can be achieved when communities are given the support and the encouragement they need to make change happen in their local area.”

4 Kittiwakes and Auks3 Kittiwake

CSGRT record nesting ledges for kittiwakes and auks and list species for national and local bird groups (BTO and CBWPS)

Sue Sayer says “CSGRT are hugely grateful to PMCG for including funding for our flagship POLPIP systematic boat surveys in their bid, and we look forward to continuing our amazing collaborative surveys at sea in the coming 12 months.

We aim to continue these boat surveys for the long term and have relied on funding and support from organisations such as Tescos, Seachangers, Patagonia, Sir Paul McCartney, World Animal Protection, Atlantic Diving and British Divers Marine Life Rescue. In between successful funding bids, CSGRT fill the gaps by funding boat costs using income raised from survey participants that is ring fenced for this purpose. The POLPIP survey undertaken earlier this week was paid for from money raised by CSGRT from previous participants.

Thank you to all our supporters (and especially PMCG) who make these ‘respect and protect’ surveys sustainable and successful – we CANNOT do it without you!”

5 S142 identified seal6 Seal S142 movements

And of course we monitor and identify seals (catalogue match with red border) and ‘Brown flippers’ personal sightings record (right)

CSGRT run two similar boat surveys covering over 100km of the north Cornish coast. If you would like to donate towards these surveys, please email [email protected]. You can be secure in the knowledge that you are helping to support important research fundamental to extending our understanding of the use marine life makes of our coastal habitat and the pressures they are facing whilst there. It matters not whether you can contribute a small or large sum – all contributions make a difference!