Suffolk Punch Trust

Suffolk Punches are handsome chesnut coloured heavy horses and a critically endangered species as there are only around 400 of them alive in the world today.

The future of these lovely animals is in the hands of a small group of committed owners and breeders and the Colony Stud of the Suffolk Punch Trust at Hollesley Bay, Suffolk, which is a registered charity and environmental body crucial to the preservation of the breed.

The Trust has recently received £70,000 from Viridor Credits. This comprised a direct grant of £42,500 and a further £27,500 given through Suffolk Environmental Trust, which works with Viridor Credits to distribute funds from the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) in the Ipswich area. In recognition of this generosity, one of the seven foals born at the Suffolk Punch Trust in 2009 was named Colony Viridor.

The LCF funding has enabled the Trust to refurbish its stables and open them up to the public six days a week from March 23, 2010. There is a new Heritage, Education and Visitor Centre, and visitors will be able to see the horses under cover as well as in the paddocks. They can also enjoy the impressive harness room. Project manager for the Suffolk Punch Trust, John Marsh said: "Over the years, the stables had become quite dilapidated and the support from Viridor Credits and Suffolk Environmental Trust has been very generous as they also helped with the purchase of the site in 2006."

The improved visitor experience is crucial to the whole project as visitor income is essential to pay for the development and delivery of a range of educational and work skills programmes and to ensure the Colony Stud is viable in the longer term. Importantly, the Trust will be able to increase school visits for young children from inner city deprived areas who can spend a day at the Trust for a countryside experience; or for other vulnerable groups, including those with learning difficulties.