Somerset Wildlife Trust is appealing for donations to raise £40,000 to support its Wilder Youth movement.

It aims to enable young people in Somerset to become conservation champions.

The campaign is part of the Big Give Green Match Fund, the UK’s largest match-funding initiative.

Between midday on Thursday 18th April and Thursday 25th April, all online donations will be doubled.

Match-funding pledges are already promised from various supporters including the Reed Foundation, that has committed £10,000 to the cause.

The Trust aims to reach its fundraising target within a week and aims to use the collected funds to support its wilder youth officer.

The officer works closely with communities across Somerset fostering skill development in young people, building community projects led by the youth, and hopes to establish an active youth forum in Somerset.

Bridgwater Mercury:

A worrying trend sighted by recent studies indicates that most young people lose their connection to nature after age 10, and it can take up to 20 years for the bond to be re-established.

With the declaration of a climate and nature emergency, the trust believes that it is of utmost importance that young people re-connect with nature.

They believe it is imperative not just for nature’s sake, but also for the wellbeing of the young individuals themselves.

Siân Bentley, wilder youth officer at Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: "It’s really important that young people are empowered to connect with nature in ways that are relevant and inspiring to them.

"We aim to establish a youth forum in Somerset which will equip young people aged between 12 and 24 with the skills and experience they need to raise their voice about the environmental issues they deeply care about."

Bridgwater Mercury: It aims to enable young people in Somerset to become conservation champions

She added: "There are so many exciting ways we can engage with Somerset’s youth and assist them in strengthening their connection to nature.

"The funds we aim to raise through the Green Match Fund are vital to carry this initiative forward."

To support the Wilder Youth movement, donations can be made via the Green Match Fund Project, Nature’s Hope: Young Hearts, Green Minds, between Thursday, April 18 and Thursday, April 25.

For any donations made during this period, every pound will be matched.