We're on a mission to create an amazing new place for nature in England, not for profit but for wild things and all of us.
Heal launched in 2020 as the world's first charity dedicated to becoming a rewilding landowner at scale
When we launched in 2020, we were the world's first charity dedicated to becoming a rewilding landowner at scale. Our name is our purpose: heal the land, heal nature, heal ourselves.
Our mission is to buy land in England and rewild it, not for profit but to help nature recover and to fight climate change. We will take ecologically depleted land and give it back to nature. Our goal is to create our first site by 2022 in the south of England.
Our sites will be for nature and for all of us: they will be free to enter and will be a place where people can spend time in a wild landscape to help heal mind, body and soul. We will also run courses and workshops on all sorts of topics relating to wildlife, climate change, sustainable living and wellbeing.
You live in one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to nature
The state of nature in the UK is dire. We've taken so much land from nature in this country that the nature is doing better in 188 countries than it is in the UK. In a study of biological intactness, we rank 189th in the world out of 218 countries ranked. When was Britain, as a nation, ever 189th at something? That isn't okay. We can do so much better - and we will. We need to give land back to nature for rewilding. And we all know about the climate emergency. Rewilding helps fight climate change too.
Making rewilding happen couldn't be simpler: find money, buy land and give it back to nature.
Rewilding heals nature and the climate
Rewilding is an amazing way help heal nature and the climate. Nature is in charge instead of us.
And with nature in the driving seat, magic happens.
The land begins to heal. The soil starts to brim with life. Animals browse and rootle and scuff up the land. Seeds drift in, settle on bare earth and flowers bloom. Baby trees spring up. Brambles blossom and feed hungry bees. Ants scurry, moths flutter, mice scuttle. Beetles trundle, butterflies swoop, foxes lope. Birds sing their hearts out. Beavers...beaver.
The air is bright and clear. Rain falls and runs out fresh and clean. The plants and trees capture carbon as they grow stronger. Chemicals no longer harm the land. Within a generation, creatures galore fill this place that nature has reclaimed.
Your donation will help fund Heal's work in 2021, including two amazing creative projects
Your donation to the Heal Appeal will be 'unrestricted funds', which means we can use the money we raise from this Crowdfunder in ways which have the greatest impact on our work to find, secure and pay for our first site.
To climb back up the rankings and get into the premier league of countries rich in wildlife, lots more people need to know about rewilding, how brilliant it is and how supporting Heal will make a difference. To do this, we are working on two amazing projects which will make a huge impact:
The first ever virtual rewilding world
- We are creating the first ever virtual rewilding world, which will introduce younger, digital-native generations to rewilding
A mesmerising film to reach new audiences
- We are producing a mesmerising short film featuring a young and brilliant performance poet and dancer Safiya Kinshasa Kamara. The film will reach more diverse audiences and increase awareness of Heal’s work in artistic and creative communities
We're bringing on board influencers to spread the word. We already have the endorsement of celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and we have identified dozens more names of well-known people interested in nature and climate change. And we'll run a powerful and far-reaching communications campaign with a top agency.
If we raise more than our target, we'll be able to begin creating a long-term educational programme based on the virtual rewilding world.
If we really bust our target, we will put the money into our land fund, to help pay for the foundation site.
Our first site will be close to London, Swindon or Bristol
We'd love to be able to tell you now exactly where our first rewilding site will be, but it depends on finding the right landholding. We can tell you that we want to be within two hours of large cities like London, Swindon or Bristol. We're scouring Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent to find a brilliant place. Let us know if you hear of anything!
Heal is run by business people who love nature, helped by lots of experts and advisors
The people behind Heal - the Trustees - love nature so much that they give their time for nothing to make Heal's vision real. Heal is run day-to-day by me, Jan Stannard, with our first member of staff, Junior Director Hannah Needham. This founding team together has nearly 300 years of experience in life, business and nature. Our Founding Patron is Ted Green, named in the first sentence of Isabella Tree's seminal book, 'Wilding'. We're advised by scores of experts, from ecologists, ecosystem carbon and pond specialists to entomologists, botanists and birders.
We want England to be rich in wildlife for the next generation
Heal's legacy will be a better natural world for the generations that come after us. We want them to be surrounded by countryside which is teeming with life, not empty. We have a huge following amongst young people who care deeply about the impact that we've had as a species upon the rest of nature and the climate. To make sure that Heal makes decisions which resonate with the hopes and views of the young, Heal has its own young persons' network for those aged 30 and under, called Heal Future. Leading Heal Future is a panel of ten young people, our 'Future Advisors' who scrutinise Heal's plans and policies as they are developed, create and refine marketing and promotional materials, contribute to awareness campaigns, and suggest new ideas on how Heal can help people of all ages and backgrounds to reconnect with nature.
We have over two hundred volunteers already - our Heal Helpers
Our lean core team is helped every day of the week (and weekends) by over 200 volunteers - our Heal Helpers - working on desk-based tasks, with backgrounds including science, conservation, ecology, tech, industry, the civil service, marketing, social media, law, publishing, psychology, media, farming, finance, PR, project management and - good-hearted, kind people, all doing something to help. Here are just a few of them:
We've had strong support so far
We launched a week into the first lockdown and all our fundraising has been done in one of the most difficult periods in history for charities. We are humbled by the huge amount of support we've had so far and proud of our achievements. A charity fundraising expert said that the level of donations we've had is amongst the best they've ever seen for a new charity coming from a standing start. But we need more funds.
People love Heal
Since our launch in 2020, we've received thousands of messages of support. We have put some of them on our Love Heal page. Here's are just a few examples:
"Hurrah! You are doing exactly what I have been wishing somebody could do."
"The world needs more wild places. The sooner Heal can reach its target of buy its first piece of land, the better."
"Found you through a Guardian article and I think what you’re doing is AMAZING!"
"I came across Heal just yesterday and I have to say your mission, ethos and plans for the future have been on my mind ever since. What Heal is aiming to achieve has been a breath of fresh air! (without trying to sound to corny)."
"Amazing cause. I truly believe in rewilding and giving us the opportunity to help and be a part of it is fantastic."
"Light in the darkness - thank you for making a vision a reality."
A donation of £1 made us happy
We've had a donation of £1. Why did that make us happy? When we set up Heal, we wanted anyone - no matter how little they had to give - to be able to contribute to a rewilding project. And someone gave us a small donation and said this:
"I can't tell you how excited and relieved I feel [about Heal launching]. Having a very low income myself, I felt helpless, that there was no chance of making a difference."
Companies are supporting us
We already have support from more than a dozen companies and we are increasingly being approached about partnerships. Everyone we work with is special to us, so we’re serious about making sure we’re right for each corporate supporter. For instance, our Trustees help make sure there is alignment of values and we also consult our Heal Future Panel. We evaluate whether a company has a meaningful commitment to environmental and sustainability goals, can already demonstrate change, or are on a journey of change.
Company support currently includes:
- Straightforward donations
- Online retailers offering customers a choice of charity for a donation, including Heal
- Merchandise with profits to Heal (eg sustainable clothing with special designs)
- Employee volunteering
- Patient loans - provision of soft, long-term lending at very low interest rates to accelerate our site acquisition
- Free or reduced cost services or products
WE NEED TO ACT NOW. WE CAN TURN THIS AROUND BUT WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. PLEASE DONATE WHAT YOU CAN TODAY TO THE HEAL APPEAL AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Thank you so much!
Here is some more information if you have questions about our project.
How big will your first site be?
We want it to be 500 acres (200 hectares) or more, with buildings to convert to visitor facilities and accommodation. At this scale, we can bring small numbers of cattle, ponies and pigs onto the land all year round, to act as 'ecosystem engineers'. This is the blueprint that we’ll use for all future sites - we’re aiming to create one in every English county by 2050, covering at least 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares).
How will your site be run?
Our site will be open to everyone and free to enter.
We will create a site which is welcoming to people from all backgrounds and abilities. This site will be free to enter - all visitors will have the option to donate what they can. We are taking steps to ensure that our sites are accessible and welcoming for everyone, through consultation with experts and community groups. We are determined to ensure that we create an inclusive culture and provide facilities to satisfy a wide range of needs. It is essential to us that everyone feels safe and at home on our sites, and that our work helps to address the barriers that many people face in the countryside, particularly people from BAME backgrounds and people with physical disabilities.
We will open around half of the site to general public access for those aged 14+ because of our use of large, free-roaming animals. We will also have a rewilding area dedicated to families and younger children. We will keep the rest of the land closed for nature, to give it the seclusion it needs to thrive, with access only by our staff, volunteers, scientists, and occasional supervised access for major donors and supporters.
We will have visitor facilities, a local membership scheme, a cafe or refreshment pop ups and sustainable local produce and products on sale.
Doesn't rewilding mean wolves?
In some places in the world, it does, but they aren't in Heal's plans. Beavers might be, if the local community wants them back and the ecology is right for them. Other rewilding sites are helping many wonderful species become re-established, like bison, cranes, white storks and corncrakes. Our site will be unique and we'll be led by the science on things like reintroductions.
What else will people be able to do on your site?
As well as being able to spend time in nature, this Heal site will be a place of learning. We will use the buildings for courses and workshops in our three areas of work: nature recovery, climate change action and wellbeing. We want people to come and be inspired to help nature and the climate and go home vowing to live more sustainably and make more space for wildlife where they live. Many of Heal's Trustees, donors and supporters are either vegetarian or vegan, for planetary health, personal health or animal welfare reasons, and though we will have 'kept wild' large animals - cattle, ponies and pigs along with wild deer - we have no plans to kill our livestock for meat sales. We are developing herd management approaches to make this possible.
Will your site be sustainable long term?
We have done months of detailed business modelling with input from rural business development and ecotourism experts, and identified over a dozen different revenue streams for the site. We're using a blend of established and novel approaches. The spread of income means that no single stream is greater than ten per cent which ameliorates risk.
What about your farming neighbours and local communities?
We want to develop good relationships with our neighbours. Ideally, our site will be part of a Nature Recovery Network, joined-up landholdings where wildlife can move freely through spaces with safe and varied habitats. Otherwise, we will be a hub for wildlife and we will work with surrounding landowners to create wildlife corridors - land and water - enabling safe transit to other habitats.
Will you create jobs?
Yes, we will create 5-6 new roles at the site and these could bring much-needed employment, especially for younger people.
If you want to speak to us before you give, please call 020 3355 2149 or email us at [email protected]