Hedgehog home design competition sees Chichester pupils run wild with imaginations

A vegetable patch, heated mat and back-scratching pole were among the amenities on offer in the winning entry in a design competition.

Aiming to raise awareness of the challenges the nation’s prickly woodland neighbours face during the winter months, Miller Homes Southern’s Design a Hedgehog Home competition saw a total of 30 drawn designs and two models submitted by pupils from St Joseph’s CE Junior School in Chichester.

The housebuilder’s Minerva Heights development is located close to the Orchard Street school and pupils were challenged to get creative and share their thoughts on what they think the perfect hedgehog home would be.

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Jessica and Amelia with their designs and Grace Tooes, from Miller Homes, with JaeJae’s design

Tina Handley, deputy head teacher at St Joseph’s, said: “The competition was a lovely activity for our pupils to take part in over the autumn half-term and it’s been brilliant to see just how inventive they can be.

“Understanding the importance of protecting local wildlife is something we actively encourage, and we hope the children have not only enjoyed themselves but also understood how we can be better neighbours to our outdoor friends and critters.

“We’re grateful for the support of Miller Homes and we look forward to seeing our pupils enjoying the new literature in the library.”

The submitted designs showcased a range of imaginative features including a drum kit, a lift and a slide.

The winning design, by ten-year-old Jessica, featured a nutritious vegetable patch, a heated mat for the colder months, a back scratching pole and a cuddly hedgehog toy as a companion.

Also in the home was plenty of straw, food and treats to keep the hedgehog full during hibernation.

Amelia and JaeJae, ahed eight and seven, scooped joint second place for their creative grand designs which featured castle-like towers and camouflaged tunnels.

Jessica scooped the top prize of a £30 book voucher, while the runners-up received £10 book vouchers.

To bolster the school’s library collection, £100 worth of book vouchers was also gifted to St Joseph’s by the Miller Homes team.

Katrina Crawford, sales and marketing director for Miller Homes Southern, said: “We’re always passionate about connecting and engaging with local schools near our developments, so it was great to be able to work with the pupils at St Joseph’s CE Junior School for this very special competition.

“Not only has this competition allowed the pupils to unleash their creative side, but it’s also highlighted the importance of taking care of the wildlife where we live, especially during the colder months.

“We really enjoyed looking at all the fantastic creations and we’d like to thank everyone who entered.

“We hope Jessica, Amelia and JaeJae enjoy their well-deserved prizes and all pupils have fun making the most of the new books in the school library.”

As part of Miller Homes’ ecological mitigation strategy, Minerva Heights homes have been built with Hedgehog Highways, providing safe routes for hedgehogs to travel through the rear gardens via openings at the bottom of the garden fences.

As well as this, bat and bird boxes have also been introduced by the homesbuilder into the neighbourhood while native plants and flowering species have been made priorities in the development planting scheme to encourage bees and other natural pollinators.

Listed as vulnerable on Britain’s red list of mammals, there has been a 30 per cent decline in hedgehogs in urban areas since the start of the millennium.

Many experts believe the fact hedgehogs are often unable to find suitable spots to live and hibernate has played a big part in that decline.

For more information on the Minerva Heights development, visit the Miller Homes website.

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