Our name has changed from Chester Municipal Charities to The Chester Bluecoat Charity.

The Chester Bluecoat Charity is delighted with the initial success of a learning programme they are supporting at Chester Zoo. The charity has granted £60,000 over three years to fund a Chester Zoo project that enables disadvantaged young people from Chester to access opportunities to connect with nature. The project aims to improve the participants’ wellbeing, increase their transferable skills and allow them to take part in Chester Zoo’s educational programmes.

The project began in 2022 and so far, Chester Zoo has worked with 6 local primary schools in areas of deprivation in Chester to deliver family wildlife clubs. These focus on connecting children and their carers with the nature on their doorsteps, providing opportunities for families to interact with each other and can lead to environmental improvements to green space around the school. So far over 400 participants have benefitted from these clubs.

Chester Zoo will also run after-school clubs in secondary schools. These will involve two experienced members of Chester Zoo staff running a weekly hands-on activity session to encourage young people to engage with environmental issues relevant to their own lives and local area. These are beginning in Summer 2022 following postponement due to covid. It is hoped these clubs will strongly support wellbeing, as well as a wide range of other outcomes such as increased confidence, team working and communication skills.

The Chester Bluecoat charity aims to tackle the causes of poverty, disadvantage and inequality in and around the city. They were particularly interested in supporting the Chester Zoo education project as the funding will, amongst many other benefits, address the inequality of those who can access extra-curricular activities and those who cannot typically afford to.

The Chester Bluecoat Charity is delighted to be able to support this initiative, with Tim Mann, the chair of the grant giving boards saying “The Chester Bluecoat Charity is delighted to be the financial supporters of this partnership with Chester Zoo. This conservation, education and engagement scheme will allow disadvantaged young people from the area to access opportunities to improve their wellbeing through connecting with nature, increase their conservation related and transferable skills and to take part in Chester Zoo’s inspiring learning programmes.”