A CROWDFUNDING scheme has been launched to ensure Victoria Park's popular Butterfly House in Widnes returns in 2016.

The unique facility, which allows families to view tropical butterflies, re-opened in 2014 thanks to funding from VPET.

But the people behind the project are now looking to secure enough cash for the Halton attraction to return next year.

A spokesman added: "The Butterfly House is in the glasshouses at Victoria Park, which is a local authority run facility.

"It closed some years ago due to difficult decisions about the allocation of council resources but in 2014 VPET raised the funding to open it for the summer season.

"We did the same again this year but the majority of the funding came from grant funders who will not repeat fund.

"The council offers in-kind support for heating and some staffing but we need to secure funding to purchase the butterflies and associated practical and educational resources."

One weekly supply of pupae costs around £150 and this needs to be replicated over 14 weeks.

Staff have also produced a cute film with a talking butterfly to encourage visitors to support the project.

A spokesman added: "The re-opening of the Butterfly House in 2014 was a pilot to see if it was popular and operational.

"It proved extremely popular with around 10,000 visitors through the doors between June and September.

"It was particularly popular with families with young children who were able to see first hand the full life cycle of the butterfly as they emerge from the pupae and tale their first flight.

"The butterflies are world and tropical species and are amazing to see.

"We also try to raise awareness of the plight of British butterflies by giving out information and encouraging visitors to grow wildlife-friendly plants to encourage butterflies to their gardens.

"Without the funding to purchase the butterflies we will not be able to open for the 2016 season."

To donate towards the project, click here