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£2.8m Proposed for Wildlife Aid Foundation

Published on: 23 Jul, 2023
Updated on: 25 Jul, 2023

Image: Wildlife Aid Foundation

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

A £2.8 million grant could be coming to a wildlife charity as it aims to fulfil its founder’s last wishes.

The Wildlife Aid Foundation, based in Leatherhead, was founded 40 years ago by Simon Cowell.

The money, which Surrey County Council’s cabinet could approve next week, will be used to build a community hub for hosting school, college and community groups, as well as family sessions and talks.

The £2.8 million represents just less than a quarter of the project cost, with the remainder being raised by the charity.

The Wildlife SOS star, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2022, launched a Simon’s Last Wish appeal to help the charity after his death.

Documents for the cabinet meeting, which will make a decision on awarding the funding as part of the Your Fund Surrey money that community projects can bid for, say the project has the “potential to have a long-lasting positive impact on the environment and wildlife in Surrey”.

A planned wildlife centre would restore land bordered by the M25 and the River Mole, and give the charity a future rescuing and rehabilitating animals in Surrey.

Mr Cowell said the charity had got far bigger than he ever thought it would when he founded it 40 years ago and praised the 400 volunteers at the charity.

He told the LDRS earlier in the year: “They just do an amazing job, and without them we would not be here. It’s as simple as that.”

On his cancer diagnosis, Mr Cowell said he was in “total denial of the whole thing”.

He said: “We all think we won’t get it, and when you do get cancer, you’ve got two choices.

“You sit in the corner and sulk, or you just ignore it and get on with it while you can. So I’ve done that, basically.”

SCC’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the funding for 21 per cent of the project cost.

The meeting agenda said: “The proposed wildlife centre would help redress the balance between humans and nature and play a part in preserving Surrey’s natural heritage for future generations to enjoy.”

A £2.9 million award given to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in June saw the total amount of money given out from the pot reach £10m since its launch in November 2020.

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Responses to £2.8m Proposed for Wildlife Aid Foundation

  1. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    July 24, 2023 at 11:19 am

    A very worthwhile cause. The work this charity does is excellent and it would be wonderful to see Simon’s Last Wish take one step further towards its goal.

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