CHARITY South West Lakes has been awarded a grant from the Government’s £40 million second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a multi-million pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery for its Connecting Communities project
The Connecting Communities project will train three young people to become Environment and Engagement Rangers, helping local communities connect with nature. It will boost their confidence and knowledge to access blue and green spaces and create experiences to appreciate and care for the environment, whilst helping to improve the physical health and mental wellbeing of children and diverse audiences.
South West Lakes Chief Executive James Platts said:
“We are extremely pleased to have secured funding for our Connecting Communities project which will deliver opportunities in West and North Cornwall and North Devon. We are a charity dedicated to providing access to great outdoor spaces (on and around reservoirs in the south west) and we recognise that now more than ever, people need places where they can relax, exercise and spend time away from the pressures of everyday life. However, we must also safeguard these places for future generations. Connecting Communities will connect, engage and inspire more people to access, care for, and play their role in protecting the great outdoors. It’s Your Outdoors.”
The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Connecting people with nature is another priority theme: by increasing access to nature and greenspaces, projects will support both physical and mental wellbeing.
The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:
“The diverse and ambitious projects being awarded funding today will help environmental organisations employ more people to work on tree-planting, nature restoration and crucially, help more of the public to access and enjoy the outdoors.
“Through our £80 million Fund, we are on track to support over 2,500 jobs, plant almost a million trees and increase nature recovery at a huge scale across the country, which will help us deliver against our 25 Year Environment Plan.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“From wetland restoration, to creating wildlife-rich habitat for bees, it is vital that we value, protect and rebuild our natural heritage. This new funding will not only allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, but it will increase awareness of how and why we need to change our behaviours in order to protect our future.”
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said:
“By supporting jobs from Northumberland to Somerset, the Green Recovery Challenge Fund will help deliver a nature positive future. The fund supports young people to develop skills needed to protect nature, build back greener and prepare for climate impacts, like floods and heatwaves.”
Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said:
“Our environmental and conservation charity sector does an incredible job in protecting, improving and restoring the natural environment for the benefit of communities and the economy.”
Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley said:
“This funding will help deliver thousands more trees and help us achieve our target of trebling tree planting rates in England by the end of the Parliament. We need to work towards net zero emissions by 2050; to address biodiversity loss; to better connect people with nature; and to create more green jobs in doing so. Trees are central to this and the projects being awarded these grants will have a hugely important role in helping us realise these objectives.”
Ninety nature projects across England have been awarded grants from £68,100 to £1,950,000 to create and retain over 1,000 green jobs, backed by the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
Work will be carried out on over 600 sites from North Northumberland to the tip of Cornwall, and combined with the first round, almost a million trees will be planted, contributing towards the Government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament.