With birds and wildlife increasingly vulnerable in a rapidly-changing world, the RSPB is working to create bigger, better, more joined-up spaces to save wildlife.

Central to the charity’s work are a diverse range of more than 220 reserves – from marshes and heathland to estuaries and cliffs – that provide havens to a huge range of species, while also providing spaces for everyone to get closer to nature.

Adding new facilities

This winter, the RSPB is opening new cafés at four of its nature reserves, as part of its efforts to drive community engagement and connections to nature across the UK.

A £2.8m loan from Triodos Bank UK will support the creation of new cafés at The Lodge in Bedfordshire, Dee Estuary in Cheshire, Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire and Conwy, North Wales.

As well as playing an important role in its conservation work, the charity’s nature reserves are fantastic places to experience and discover more about wildlife and the landscapes they call home. The new facilities will offer the space for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike to learn about their local wildlife and the work of the RSPB, while also serving food and refreshments that are prepared on site from fresh and sustainable seasonal ingredients.

Modular construction at Frampton Marsh | Credit: Ross Frazer, RSPB

“Our nature reserves are havens for a huge range of species and offer special spaces for us all to get closer to nature, take part in events and enjoy the great outdoors,” explains Shaun Thomas, chief operating officer at the RSPB. “We hope that these new facilities will encourage even more people to spend time enjoying all our nature reserves have to offer as well as helping to boost income to support our important conservation work.”

If successful, the new visitor centre and café concept could be rolled out to other sites in the future.

To minimise any potential disturbance to wildlife during the building process, the new facilities will be created using offsite modular construction methods and installed throughout 2022 and early 2023. Special wildlife friendly features, including anti-bird strike glass windows and doors, have also been included in the designs.

Speaking about the new finance, Phillip Bate, business banking team leader at Triodos Bank UK, adds: “The RSPB is an excellent fit for our mission and values as a bank and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to support the important work of its nature reserves through the addition of these new facilities. Encouraging engagement with nature, while helping to generate income for the charity, fits perfectly with our ethos of using money to support positive environmental and social change.”

Triodos Bank’s previous work with the RSPB includes a loan to help the charity install renewable energy projects across its nature reserves.