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I think that’s really brilliant that you want to start a local group. Sadly, I’m not in your area. You might be lucky, like a gentleman who was recently on TV and managed to get a whole row of neighbours involved. But, as Annker said, don’t be too downhearted if you don’t, at first succeed. I think in many places it isn’t so easy and needs lots of perseverance.
I don’t know whether you are any good at doing Talks, but that might be a good idea. Even if you only find one or two hedgehog friendly people, that is good, and combined, you may be able to achieve more. Do you have a local parish newsletter, or local paper? Maybe that is something you could consider. Alternatively, local parish Councils sometimes have websites for their area. You may be able to write an article – or ask them to write an article (local newspaper). So many different angles you could explore, i.e. hedgehog highways, garden hazards, etc. You could even make it a regular thing with different things each time, if that is possible. If you have a local shop/pub, they are sometimes a good place to spread the word. Let it be known that you are interested in hedgehogs and then if they hear someone else is, they might tell you. But posters in local shops, etc., with contact details, can be good.
The fact that you have found so many poor unfortunate dead hedgehogs, must mean that they are around. So, as I see it, the main things you need to do, are to encourage more wildlife friendly gardens and link them all. If enough gardens are linked, there is less need for the hogs to cross roads to find suitable habitat. If there are hogs around and you make suitable habitat for them and easy access, they will come. Water is very important, and even if you don’t have a pond, shallow plant saucers on the ground around the garden double up as bird baths, and vital water sources for hedgehogs. That is something that is so easy for everyone to do. Even small things can make a garden more hedgehog friendly. But wildlife gardening seems to be very much to the fore at the moment, being frequently mentioned on gardening programmes and, of course, the Garden Watch citizen science thing connected to Spring Watch.
Obviously, encouraging hedgehog highways, wildlife friendly gardens, etc. would be easier and quicker to achieve with a group. But you could start with your immediate neighbours and try to spread the word that way – one garden at a time. But people do seem to become more interested if there are actually hogs to see, so I really think the number one priority is to get hogs visiting yours and your neighbours’ gardens.
Even if you only put posters up about hedgehog highways, feeding, garden hazards, etc. (lots available on BHPS site) you don’t know how many hogs could be saved as a result. Just by making people more aware of them. Alternate the posters – more likely to catch people’s eyes if there is something different from time to time.
So, even if you don’t get much response to start with – don’t give up.
I really hope you find it much easier than I’ve made it sound! It’s such a worthwhile thing to try and I wish you the very best of luck.