Wessex Water partnership offers environmental grants to community groups

We are once again partnering with Wessex Water to offer grants of up to £2,000 for community or charitable projects that help protect or improve the environment.

The Wessex Water Environment Fund, which opens for applications on April 22, will fund projects that involve and engage communities in environmental activities that benefit the area or restore, maintain or enhance the local natural environment.

Priority will be given to initiatives that save water or improve sustainability and local biodiversity, said Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s head of community engagement.

“The grants will also be targeted at organisations where a small amount of money can make a significant difference,” she added.

“Groups eligible are those with charitable aims, registered charities, and community interest companies with an annual income of less than £500,000. Schools and parish councils can apply if they can demonstrate community benefit to their project.”

Grants can go towards project costs including equipment, salaries and overheads.

The fund is part of the company’s charitable foundation, which provides a dedicated stream of funding for the voluntary sector. The Wessex Water Foundation aims to provide at least half a million pounds of funding every year to support community projects, local environment projects, debt advice and charities helping those who are suffering the consequences of poverty through low income or unemployment.

Previous recipients include Marden Valley Trust, which used a £1,500 grant to commission a water vole study and plant Rowan trees at Abberd Brook. The study found evidence of water voles, whose population is in decline in the UK.

Treasurer Andrew Jones said: “The grant from Wessex Water, I think, has already helped us get two other grants, it just gives us a bit more credibility that we've been funded, and not just funded from public funds I think that's quite important, too, when we go to Calne Area Board or Calne Town Council for some funding in the future.”

Hilperton Allotment Association was awarded £652 to enhance a natural wildlife area on its site for the wider community to enjoy. It bought observation nest boxes, educational material including identification posters to stimulate interest in wildlife and highlight the threat it is facing and spring flowering bulbs to provide a better environment for bees.

Sustainable Devizes used its £330 grant to buy a vintage suitcase and pack it with sustainable sanitary products as well as reusable nappies and other environmentally friendly items to take to events to highlight what is available.

Group member Liz Read said: “The grant was invaluable. Many of the people we have spoken with were genuinely interested to learn about alternatives to single-use available to them and went away inspired to try these options out.”

Our joint Chief Executive Fiona Oliver said: “This is the fourth year of working in collaboration with Wessex Water on this programme. Each time we run it we see some wonderfully innovative projects that demonstrate the passion people have for the natural environment in their community. We’re looking forward to seeing what will emerge this time around.”

Applications are open until May 17. Find out more about the fund, its criteria and how to apply at wiltshirecf.org.uk.

The trust planted Rowan trees along the brook to cool the water temperature in summer and provide a haven for food sources to further encourage the population. It has also built diversions in the stream to improve its flow and oxygenation.

Read more the programme and how you can apply here

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