Show the Solent some love - help us look after our amazing marine wildlife.
We have an amazing opportunity right now to unlock vital funds to safeguard the Solent.
We need your help!
Every £1 we raise gives us the chance to unlock an extra £9.85 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will allow us to work with local people and partners to keep the Solent special.
What's so special about the Solent?
This strip of sea is one of the liveliest in the UK and is enjoyed by millions of people every year. People come here to sail, surf, canoe, fish, kayak, paddleboard and swim.
The Solent supports important fisheries, supplying restaurants and consumers with fresh local mackerel, sea bass and cockles.
We have some of the biggest ships passing in and out carrying tourists, commuters and cargo. The Solent is also now home to the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s new flagship aircraft carrier.
Thousands live and work alongside the Solent, but hardly anyone knows much about what’s under the surface. There are famous ship wrecks and archaeological treasures, but there’s also amazing sea life.
Feisty green shore crab
Many people think our local sea is almost entirely devoid of life, but that’s so far from the truth.
Did you know that just out there are incredible underwater landscapes - seagrass meadows, chalk reefs and rocky sponge gardens, which are home to seahorses and sea bass, seals, colourful anemones, sea squirts and cuttlefish.
Snakelocks anemone in a rockpool at Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight
However, our seas are under real pressure and marine wildlife has declined rapidly in recent years.
Already this year we have seen waves of plastic washing up on our beaches and emergency measures have recently been introduced to save our once thriving oyster industry.
Plastic pollution in the sea
Our fantastic salt marshes are disappearing and with them important nursery areas for sea bass.
We have reached a tipping point and, without action, the Solent could lose its fantastic natural treasures.
What will we do with the money?
We love the Solent and we want others to love and care for it too. We know that if people are really going to start standing up for the Solent, first they need to really appreciate what's at stake.
Beach survey at Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight
With your money and the funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we’ll get many more people involved in doing things to support the sea:
- We will create 'citizen science' projects, working with local volunteers to collect data about what’s on our shores and in our seas. This is a really important part of helping us push for greater government protections for the Solent.
- We’ll work with the fishing industry, restaurants and consumers to promote local sustainable seafood.
- We’ll build a team of ‘marine champions’ – an army of volunteers who can help protect the Solent and pass on their passion to others.
- And we’ll also make sure that as many people as possible get to know about the spectacular secrets of the Solent. Our hidden treasures will be brought to the surface through street art, photography and film.
Cuttlefish mural in Portsmouth by street artist ATM
We want everyone who lives and works with the Solent to love and be proud of our sea and to help protect it so it stays wild and wonderful for generations to come.
Who are Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust?
We are the leading conservation charity in the two counties. For nearly sixty years we've been protecting our amazing habitats and creating safe havens for threatened species on land and at sea.
Today we look after 53 nature reserves, and other land, creating a growing network of wildlife havens across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
We bring wildlife back from the brink and despite national declines, we are proud of our success in improving the fortunes of important species like Duke of Burgundy butterfly, water vole and avocet.
We stand up for wildlife, working with government, local authorities and farmers to shape decisions and get the best results for wildlife.
We connect people and wildlife. We offer hundreds of events, activities and classes throughout the year - giving people of all ages the chance to experience and learn about our incredible natural treasures.
In the unlikely event that we are unable to secure Heritage Lottery Funding, we will use any money donated to support our ongoing marine work to protect our local seas.
Image credits: Seal pair by Chas Spradbery, green shore crab by Samuel Chamberlain, snakelocks anemone by Amy Marsden, plastic pollution in the sea by Shutterstock, beach survey at Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight by Amy Marsden, cuttlefish mural in Portsmouth by Paul Gonella.