One of Britain’s most cherished garden visitors, hedgehogs are facing significant challenges due to habitat loss.
As more homeowners opt for fences instead of hedges, these spiny creatures find it difficult to forage for food and roam freely.
Recognising this challenge, the Liberty Team found inspiration in the Hedgehog Street campaign. They discovered that creating square CD case sized holes in fences can aid hedgehogs in navigating through gardens, whilst expanding their habitats and feeding grounds.
To spread awareness about this initiative and its significance, the team purchased ‘Hedgehog highway’ signs to be placed above purpose cut hedgehog holes, and existing gaps in fences. These signs inform locals about the purpose of the openings and highlight the importance of keeping them clear.
With the concept in mind and the signs purchased, Dave Winckle, Project Manager at Liberty, approached Verna, ForHousing’s Engagement Officer, with the idea, and the offer for Liberty to install these hedgehog highways free of charge. Verna saw potential in partnering with MHA Communities Cheshire West, which operates the Green Care Wellbeing Project within the Mayfield care home and Hawthorns supported living grounds in Ellesmere Port. Thanks to Verna’s introduction, plans were swiftly set in motion, and the Liberty Team was soon at the Mayfield and Hawthorns to complete the work.
Within a day, the team had successfully created hedgehog-friendly holes where needed and clearly labelled each with an informative ‘Hedgehog highway’ sign. Whilst on site the team also identified existing gaps and entrances into Mayfield’s and Hawthorns grounds where hedgehogs could already move freely and added ‘Hedgehog highway’ signs to these too. Before leaving the Liberty team generously provided David, the Communities Manager, with additional signs for use at other care facilities under their management.
Verna Ainsworth, Engagement Officer at ForHousing said: “We are thrilled to have had a part in bringing together Liberty and MHA Communities Cheshire West Greencare Project, helping to foster new partnership links and creating a new home for hedgehogs in these beautiful surroundings.”
Reflecting on the heartwarming initiative, David Foulds, Communities Manager at MHA Communities – Cheshire West, commented, “It was such a delightful experience. The staff were initially puzzled seeing the Liberty team on-site, and their playful speculations ranged from expecting a picnic area to even a Travelodge! However, they were delighted to learn about the ‘hedgehog highways’ and the existing ‘hedgehog hotels’ around the grounds. We’re incredibly grateful for this fun and meaningful opportunity.”
Dave Winckle, Project Manager at Liberty who led the initiative said: “It was great to partner with ForHousing and MHA Communities to deliver this work. Mayfields and the Hawthorns have wonderful grounds which we hope can now become safe-havens for local hedgehogs.”