Times Christmas Appeal total tops £400,000

Seventeen articles, twelve radio interviews, one podcast….and an incredible £400,000 raised: the Times and Sunday Times Christmas Appeal has come to an end, but its impact for wetlands and wildlife will be felt for a long time yet.

From the first article back in November about our amazing WWT Steart Marshes, to the last one in mid-January naming five Bewick’s swans at Slimbridge, Times and Sunday Times reporters criss-crossed the country to report on the work of WWT, here and internationally, and in particular why we’re campaigning for the creation of 100,000 hectare of new healthy wetlands in the UK.

The stories covered urban wetlands in Slough, wetlands as carbon sinks and natural flood prevention in Somerset, corncrakes in Norfolk, barnacle geese in Scotland, connecting economically disadvantaged families to nature in London and wetlands as natural sewage treatment solutions in south Gloucestershire.

Reporters spoke to school teachers, celebrities, birders, influencers, people who have been flooded, volunteers, and many more. They visited several WWT sites and a range of our projects where they met our WWT experts and members of local communities - who all spoke with enormous passion and enthusiasm about the benefits our work is bringing.

Over the course of the two months that the Appeal ran, the Times, the Sunday Times, Times Radio and the creators of the Stories of Our Times podcast were able to showcase the breadth and depth of the work of WWT - how we are restoring and creating healthy wetlands around the world, and calling for more to help fight the climate, nature and wellbeing crises facing us today.

After the donation line closed on 31 January, the final total given to WWT stood at £401,695. Donations to the WWT were doubled up to £115,000 via £25,000 from Moto in the Community and £90,000 from an anonymous donor.

The money raised will help to create and restore wetlands to alleviate flooding, clean water, store carbon, increase biodiversity, and help with people’s wellbeing. This could include:

  • Restoring a square metre of wetland habitat for wildlife to flourish
  • Buying an underwater monitor to assess rivers, streams and estuaries
  • Wetland wellbeing courses for someone experiencing poor mental health
  • Building a predator-proof fence to protect ground-nesting farmland birds
  • Paying for five new “woody dams” to reduce flooding in a threatened community

WWT’s head of philanthropy, Peter Lee, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to the Times and Sunday Times Appeal – the amount it has raised has been amazing and, importantly, it has helped raise the profile of wetlands and how important they are for wildlife, people and our planet.

I would like to thank The Times and Sunday Times reporters who have helped bring to life stories about our work and projects, and of course all those who donated, who read our stories or who shared them on their social media. Your support is hugely appreciated and helps us create bigger, better more connected wetlands and protect wetland wildlife in the UK and around the world”.