The SUP hosted South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project is appealing for public support in order to be crowned National Lottery Project of the Year 2022.


The ground-breaking project, covering the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, has been shortlisted from 1,300 nominations and has now reached the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards, which celebrate the inspirational people and projects that do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.    


The iconic bird of prey was once a common sight across the south of Scotland. However, over the last couple of centuries, the local population declined to as low as three breeding pairs, while completely disappearing further south in England and Wales.  


The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project secured National Lottery funding to reverse this through a series of pioneering translocations and community engagement, aiming to encourage up to 16 breeding pairs. 


Working closely with raptor experts, ecologists, vets, estates, land managers and local communities, the project has more than tripled the population – the highest number recorded for three centuries.  Over 15,000 community volunteers and project participants have supported the project through a wide range of tasks and initiatives. 


Project partners the Southern Uplands Partnership, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, Scottish Forestry and NatureScot worked on the project together for more than 11 years before releasing the first eagle chicks in 2018.  Funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, project partners and the Scottish Government, the initiative is a key project under ‘Scotland’s Biodiversity. A Route Map to 2020’, supporting the Government’s ‘2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity’. 


Francesca Osowska, NatureScot’s Chief Executive, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this ground-breaking project has accomplished so much and is globally inspirational given the plight of birds of prey. Golden eagles are an exciting part of Scotland’s wildlife, and we’re passionate about returning them to places where they used to thrive. It’s wonderful to see successes like this, particularly now when it’s vital to tackle nature loss and climate change. 


“This is brilliant partnership working, and a great support for the local green economy. The project’s many accolades really are very well deserved and we hope lots of people vote for them to win the National Lottery Awards Project of the Year.” 


There are 17 shortlisted finalists from across the UK, all of which will compete in a four-week public vote, which ends on 12 October, to be named the National Lottery Project of the Year. Winners will receive a £5,000 cash prize for their project and an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.    


Jonathan Tuchner, from The National Lottery, added: “We are delighted to have received these outstanding nominations highlighting the excellent work that National Lottery-funded projects are doing in their local areas. In these challenging times, it is heartening to see so many people and projects dedicating their time and energy into giving something back to their communities.    


“It’s thanks to National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes, that brilliant projects like South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project are able to do their incredible work.  With the support of the public they could be named National Lottery Project of the Year 2022.”   


To vote for South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, please go to Or simply use the Twitter hashtag #NLAGoldenEagle. Voting runs until 5pm on 12th October.       


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