Surge of new members supports conservation charity through tough times

PUBLISHED: 11:24 10 November 2020

The 500 Club was an effort to attract new membership in tough times, and it worked, showing once again the shooting communities togetherness and passion for conservation

The 500 Club was an effort to attract new membership in tough times, and it worked, showing once again the shooting communities togetherness and passion for conservation

Archant

In times of strife, the shooting community pulls together - the most recent example being the unprecendented surge in membership to one of our most vital organisations, the GWCT, despite tough times for all

Have you joined the GWCT yet?Have you joined the GWCT yet?

In tough times, it’s always heartwarming to hear of our community pulling together to support eachother where possible. During lockdown number 1, this translated into free game meat deliveries for vulnerable people who couldn’t get to the shops, and raffles auctioning off stalking and shooting experiences in order to raise money for NHS charities and, later, mental health charities.

It’s great to know that this generosity and spirit of togetherness also reached one of our most important rural organisations - the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) - upon whom we rely heavily for most of the scientific evidence used to not only improve our own pratices and understand how better to conserve and manage the wildlife we live and work with, but to defend shooting and support arguments for its positive impact in court and parliament.

The following press relelase was publsihed by the GWCT recently, and should make for positive reading. If you are not already a member, consider joining and giving something back to those who work every day to protect and defend shooting, and ensure its future:

In a difficult year for everyone, the GWCT has been delighted by the response to its call for new members to support their work. In July, the GWCT launched its 500 Club, a proactive move to boost membership and make up for some of the loss of voluntary donations and income estimated to be in the region of £1.4 million for 2020. Today, there are fewer than 100 spaces available in this unique club of people adding their support in a time of need.

Since July more than 400 people have signed up and become members of the GWCT 500 Club. They each receive a specially commissioned 500 Club badge and an invitation to welcome drinks in 2021 to meet our existing members.

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Asked why they were lending their support to the GWCT, one new member noted “To be perfectly honest, I should have been a member long ago. The more I found myself using your research for reference I felt it wrong that I was not contributing towards the ‘pot’!”

Other new members referenced the GWCT’s “ability to present hard facts and indisputable scientific evidence” and simply that “I have for a long time admired and appreciated the work done by the GWCT to promote both the interests of shooting and the wildlife with which we share the environment … it is beholden on all of us who enjoy our sport to support the work of the GWCT.”

The 500 Club is open to those deciding to support the GWCT through one of their main membership types, who make a single annual payment and who are not already a member (or were one in the last 12 months). New members who are part of a shooting syndicate can also join the 500 Club when they sign up for the new Syndicate Membership, saving 30% of the cost of membership for syndicates of eight or more, and enjoy all the benefits of Syndicate membership and the 500 Club.

Elizabeth Cook, who joined in July, is eager for others to follow her lead. She notes: “I joined the GWCT because of its commitment to scientific research around game and conservation. In uncertain times we need to back up our beliefs in the rightness of our actions with facts, proof of those facts and good analysis. We also need to challenge tradition and keep a constant check if we are doing both the right and the best things for our environment. Good scientific research helps us make our world a better place”.

Members’ support, through subscriptions and donations, goes towards the GWCT’s leading research, practical advice for land managers and the GWCT’s policy input at government level. Research that has increased global understanding of woodcock, pheasants and partridges, that informs the future of our national agriculture policy and that puts facts at the forefront of decisions made about the countryside.

Those wishing to show their support can join online at www.gwct.org.uk/join or by calling 01425 651024.

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