#StandUpForEarlyYears: Kids Planet goes on Summer Stampede for Chester Zoo

Nursery group Kids Planet has launched a summer fundraising campaign to raise £20,000 for the UK’s number one family attraction, Chester Zoo, due to its significant losses since Covid-19 and its drastic restrictions on visitors for the foreseeable future.

Kids Planet's Summer Stampede will enable the group to give financial support by adopting as many animals as it can. To do this, 7,000 children - aged two to five – will be collecting sponsorship as they walk, stomp, hop and leap a collective 1700 miles.

Kids Planet CEO Clare Roberts says, 'We currently have 52 nurseries, with many located within easy travelling distance of Chester Zoo. It’s an incredibly popular attraction for us, our staff and many of our families. Its recent plight, due to lockdown and reduced numbers of visitors, struck a chord with our staff and parents and so we came up with this idea.

'Since launching earlier this month, we reached our first target for £2,000 in the first ten days, so we’ve set ourselves an ambitious target of £20,000 and extended our fundraising activities across July and August.

Chester Zoo currently employs over 500 staff to provide quality care for its 35,000 animals. As a conservation charity, it is 97 per cent funded by its 2 million visitors a year and generous donations. Due to Covid-19, the 12-week lockdown - and now radical restriction on daily visitors - there is a shortfall of £1.6 million a month. 

Childcare Director Lucy Kaczmarska adds, 'As part of our learning through play and child-centred activities, animals feature highly. Our Summer Stampede creates so many learning opportunities to support every age and stage of our children’s development from species, to sounds, to colours, to habitats, to behaviours; the list is endless.

Kids Planet will also be sharing a survey with Chester Zoo which will include asking children what their favourite wild animal is and why. Each nursery will conduct its own fun poll and the results will be used during the adoption selection process at the end of August.

Head of Conservation Education and Engagement, Charlotte Smith, says, 'Thank you so much for supporting us with your Kids Planet Summer Stampede. It really means the world to us that you want to support Chester Zoo at this time so that we can continue our crucial work in preventing extinction of amazing animals and plants through our science, conservation and education work. 

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