A WILDLIFE reserve is asking supporters to vote for it to help it reach the grand final of a prestigious lottery award.
Saltholme, near Billingham, is one of just 10 projects in the UK through to the semi-finals of the National Lottery Awards 2012.
Saltholme is representing the region in the education project category for its Lifelong Learning Project which runs events and activities to help people understand and enjoy wildlife.
Lottery funding has been used at Saltholme to build up a talented team of field teachers who work with people of all ages and to excite them about the wildlife on their doorstep.
Caroline Found, who leads the project, said: “Many of our young visitors have never visited anywhere like this before, nor tried the kind of activities we put on for them.
“Watching as they experience their natural heritage for possibly the very first time is a truly remarkable thing.”
The Lifelong Learning project was launched at Saltholme three years ago to save nature living in the shadow of industry.
Caroline added: “To get to the semi-finals of the National Lottery Awards is brilliant for us and is recognition of all the hard work which has gone into the project.
“But, we want to go that extra step further and make it to the finals.
“We know that we’re up against some tough opposition and we need the votes of local people to get us there.”
The awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects and celebrate the difference they make to communities.
If Saltholme wins, it will win £2,000 towards the project and appear on a star-studded BBC One show later in the year.
Voting is under way now until at midnight on Sunday, July 22. To vote for Lifelong Learning at Saltholme by calling 0844 8369686 or online at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.