Vangarde Shopping Park has recruited a brand-new mascot to greet children and help raise awareness of the park and its natural heritage.

Newton the Newt was inspired by the local population of endangered Great Crested Newts which delayed construction of the shopping park in 2013. The population has since been thriving in nearby specially created ponds and drainage lagoons.

The conservation efforts have provided regular opportunities to educate local children on the newts and other environmental issues.

With the help of Newton the Newt, Vangarde is able to spread the message further and provide a fun character for kids to meet whilst visiting.

Centre Manager, Deb O’Donnell says: “We have always maintained a responsibility to help teach children on protecting the environment and the importance of conserving the Great Crested Newts.

“We are really excited about the arrival of Newton the Newt, who has spent his first week out-and-about meeting shoppers. He’s also already had loads of fun meeting children from Yearsley Grove Primary School who are currently helping to build bug hotels on site.”

Newton the Newt kicks off the summer holidays with weekly Facebook competitions to win family passes to York Maze (visit @VangardeYork on Facebook for more details and competition terms).