Homebuilder partners with Scottish charity to help residents learn about the nature on their doorstep

People in Edinburgh are encouraged to connect with local wildlife with an educational partnership between homebuilder Cala Homes (East) and the Scottish SPCA.

The campaign, titled “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” involves the builder providing residents at Cala’s Kingfisher Park development in Balerno and Castle Bay in Dunbar with educational packs to help them explore and learn more about the wildlife in their local area.

Functioning as part of the Scottish SPCA’s wider ‘Animal Wise’ educational initiatives, it is hoped that the campaign will be rolled out across many more Cala developments in the East of Scotland as part of the developer’s wider sustainability strategy.

Animal Wise challenges people to become wise about all animals in Scotland, increasing their knowledge to in turn reduce accidental injury and neglect and safeguard animal welfare.

Over 200 households across both developments will be taking part in the campaign, with residents at coastal Castle Bay in Dunbar receiving tailored seaside wildlife packs and residents at inland Kingfisher Park in Balerno receiving woodland packs.

Residents will also receive wildflower seed packets from ‘Seeds of Hope’, a Scottish enterprise focused on boosting biodiversity and supporting mental health, to plant in their gardens.

The initiative is part of a longer-standing partnership between Cala and the Scottish SPCA, which began in 2020 to help the animal charity deliver its first ever series of virtual fundraising campaigns to raise much needed funds during the pandemic.

Cala’s support underwrote the cost of creating and delivering six innovative virtual fundraising initiatives to date, to ensure that charity’s frontline work was not impacted by the unforeseen restrictions on income.

Activities supported by the partnership so far have included the charity’s Step for Pets challenge, which saw participants walk 10,000 steps every day for a month and Pound for Paws with Olympian Laura Muir.

So far, the series of virtual events has raised £113,000 for the Scottish SPCA.

Now entering its third year, the partnership has expanded beyond this vital initial sponsorship, with the Animal Wise campaign and other funding activities underway with the support of Cala staff.

Natasha MacKinnon, Head of Fundraising at the Scottish SPCA, is delighted with the partnership and Cala’s vital financial support, which is allowing the charity to create and deliver innovative fundraising campaigns to help secure its long-term future.

She said: “The ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side’ campaign is part of our Animal Wise educational initiative that is being rolled out across Scotland and is another great show of support from Cala, expressing its commitment to helping us protect Scotland’s precious wildlife.”

Natasha added: “The more people that are aware of how to care for their local wildlife the better – so Cala’s aim to help us in spreading that message at a grassroots community level via our joint information packs is invaluable.

“In 2020 alone, our inspectors and animal rescue officers responded to nearly 78,000 reports of animals requiring urgent help. Our National Wildlife Rescue Centre rehabilitated and released 3,375 injured and orphaned wild animals too.”

Headquartered in Dunfermline, Fife, the Scottish SPCA is a national animal welfare charity which is over 180 years old. The Society champions animal welfare and the prevention of cruelty to animals.

The charity is wholly funded through donations and its work encompasses everything from community work and education to rescuing and rehoming animals across the country.

Philip Hogg, Sales and Marketing Director at Cala Homes (East), said: “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish SPCA on such an exciting project that will benefit residents and local eco-systems in equal measures.

“This initiative aligns with our direction as a business to enhance biodiversity in and around our new developments, in line with our overarching sustainability strategy.

“The delivery of high-quality greenspace is already a priority for Cala and is proven to bring physical and mental health benefits to our customers and local communities. We know we can do more and by the end of 2022, our goal is to have formulated a strategy and action plan to enhance biodiversity across all of our sites.

“’Take a Walk on the Wild Side’ marks an excellent starting point in our commitment to ensuring our residents are able to benefit from and take care of the environment around them, and in the coming months we are hoping to extend the project across our other developments as another element of our evolving sustainability strategy.”

For more information on the Scottish SPCA’s ‘Animal Wise’ initiative please visit: https://www.scottishspca.org/animal-wise