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Mudchute Wins a National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant!

Mudchute Association is delighted to announce that we have received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £51,300 for an exciting heritage project, History and heritage of Traditional Native Rare Breed Farm Animals, in Tower Hamlets. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on the Rare breeds programme and will combine the conservation of rare breeds livestock with traditional rural crafts, such as spinning, weaving, dying, blacksmithing and drystone walling to but name a few.

The Mudchute Association is a registered charity (registered charity number 284907) and has been in existence for thirty years. With responsibility for the 32 acres of land which is Mudchute Park and Farm, it has developed a wide range of services for the benefit of the local community. In 1977 the Mudchute Association was formed to preserve and develop the area. Farm animals and horses were introduced, trees and plants were planted by generous volunteers and corporate teams, and the educational benefits of the area were also recognised. Local schools were encouraged to use the project to study the natural world on their doorsteps. Since the establishment of the Association, The Mudchute has steadily built a reputation for providing a variety of educational and leisure activities on a London-wide basis.

The UK harbours an amazing diversity of native breeds of livestock and whilst some flourish some are becoming critically rare. Of the 124 native livestock breeds, excluding poultry, recognised by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), 63 are classified rare with female breeding populations as low as 100-200 Middlewhite Pig, 500-900 Whitefaced Woodland Sheep and 500-1000 Golden Guernsey Goats. The RBST estimates over 50% of poultry breeds (Dorking and Indian Game Chickens, Aylesbury and Rouen Ducks) are at serious risk, with continued declining breeding populations.

So why is this important? The UK’s native livestock breeds preserve unique genetic biodiversity, allow further breed development for commercial farming, and are important to the public in sustaining landscape and communities. Some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes and its geodiversity has been developed over centuries with our native breeds and these adapted breeds help farmers sustain these environments. These breeds are internationally recognised and constitute some of our most valuable natural assets.

Traditional native breeds are a symbol of the UK’s national heritage, but are unfortunately often deemed less important compared to historic buildings, native wildlife, landscapes or rare plants. Ironically, historical agricultural fortunes funded these buildings, current landscape appearance and the survival of much flora actually depends on these relatively neglected native breeds of livestock. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this project hopes to reverse this trend.

The project aims to ignite the spark of interest within young people with trips to other Rare Breed Farms; Agricultural shows as well a livestock auctions to re-engage them with the rhythm of the farming year and to educate them of the plight of our rare and native breeds of livestock. The Money will allow us to buy in animals of very rare genetic blood lines to do our bit to conserve these breeds of the past for the children of the future.

As well as the rare breed livestock the project will enable Mudchute to bring in rural craft experts to deliver workshops, sharing their knowledge and skills which are in decline across the U.K Who knows through the rare breed and rural craft programme we may well uncover the next generation of farmers and rural craft artist right here at Mudchute.

You can keep up to date with the project’s progress by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Mudchute Association would like to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their grant support and the National Lottery players that fund Britain’s diverse heritage.

About Mudchute Park and Farm

Set in 32 acres of countryside in the heart of East London, the Mudchute is a community charity, with a working farm, stables, a children’s nursery and a wide range of education activities. We are open every day, free of charge.

Mudchute is a local charity supported by your generous donations. Become a member today for just £10/year to show your support and help shape our future. There are many ways to help from volunteering, sponsoring an animal, or hosting an event with us, visit our website for more information.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund