Business Charity Awards 2016: Charity Partnership, Small Businesses (fewer than 50 staff) - Vine House Farm with The Wildlife Trusts

Nicholas Watts
Nicholas Watts

What is the partnership?

Vine House Farm is a family business that grows and sells wild bird food. The business was set up by wildlife enthusiast Nicholas Watts in the 1990s and has become a major online retailer of bird seed. It has been working with The Wildlife Trusts, a federation of 47 local wildlife charities, since 2007 after the charity selected it to become a partner.

What did the company do?

Vine House Farm donates 5 per cent of its turnover to TWT as part of a cause-related marketing deal. These funds go towards TWT's work to care for special places for wildlife and to help encourage people to engage with nature. In return, Vine House Farm's birdseed is marketed to TWT supporters. Watts has actively promoted the partnership, visiting individual trusts to talk about his love of nature and how wildlife trusts benefit from the arrangement.

Why did it win?

The partnership's success led to the original five-year term being renewed in 2013. In 2015, the amount raised for TWT reached £1m, a significant achievement for a small family business. Vine House Farm has attracted 19,000 new customers through the partnership, and TWT members now make up 40 per cent of VHF's customer base.


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