Special award for the place where nature is fighting back
A FORMER landfill site which is now a hub for wildlife has won a prestigious award.
The Coastal Eco Centre off Richmond Road in Skegness, has just achieved the best wildflower and conservation area in the East Midlands in Bloom competition.
The Coastal Eco Centre, managed by Seagull Recycling, has developed into a haven for wildlife as well as an education facility for all ages and abilities.
The centre was included as part of Skegness Town Partnership's entry in East Midlands in Bloom, but judges were so impressed they felt it deserved an award all of its own.
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Manager Paul Charles, who attended the awards ceremony, said: "When you think how vast the region is, covering so many counties and all the country parks, nature reserves and sites of scientific interest, to be told all of a sudden it was us is incredibly flattering.
"It is a lovely testament to the hard work and ideas of the staff here."
The Coastal Eco Centre is a 14-acre former landfill site.
Seagull Recycling took it on in the early 1990s and modified the environment to develop it as a community asset and nature reserve.
Mr Charles added: "People are always surprised that it is this little oasis.
"It is so peaceful, it is easy to forget that it borders one of the largest housing estates in Skegness."
A full range of learning courses have been developed, from pre-school, activities for infants and schoolchildren right up to adult education learning.
Courses fit around topics that the school or individuals want to learn including academic subjects like maths delivered in a practical environment.
As well as becoming an outdoor classroom, the centre is also used by community groups such as Brownies and Guides and short breaks for people with disabilities.
The former waste site is now thriving with wildflowers as well as being home to badgers, deer, foxes, newts and a recently discovered group of pipistrelle bats.
The next project the centre wants to introduce is a greenhouse for wildflowers to attract butterflies and bees.
Mr Charles said: "We want to keep moving the centre forward.
"The best reward for us is seeing it so well used by the community.
"That is what it is all about."
For more information, visit the Facebook page The Coastal Eco Centre.