Branch Out funding helps connect people with their local natural environment

Communities / Fri 23rd Feb 2024 at 10:04am

WITH just one week to go Essex & Suffolk Water is encouraging customers involved with environmental projects and community groups to apply for Branch Out funding.

Every year, the company sets aside grants of up to £25,000 to support local projects that reconnect residents with their local environment, increase resilience, and benefit water, wildlife, and communities.

It can be anything from tools needed for a local environmental volunteer group to a full river restoration.

Previous successful applicants and schemes in Essex and Suffolk, include:

  • The development of a nature school area in a public park including, , a sensory garden, plant signage, bird and bat boxes and ongoing educational sessions for schools and community groups.
  • A floodplain meadow restoration project to improve floral biodiversity.
  • Monitoring of native species, such as white-clawed crayfish in Essex to identify any areas of concern.

Helen Jacobs, Conservation Team Leader at Essex & Suffolk Water, said: “A healthy natural environment is essential to supplying top quality drinking water. We know we need to improve biodiversity and work with our local community.

“The purpose of this fund is to support local communities, land managers, and any other organisations or individuals, who want to, or already are, making a difference to the natural environment within Essex & Suffolk Water’s operating area.

“You can apply for anything from £1 to £25,000 and the Branch Out team will carefully consider all applications before letting the successful projects know. I urge people who are already involved or who have a good idea, to take the time to look at the guidance notes and entry criteria.”

The schemes  need to meet our wildlife criteria:

  • Wildlife – by linking up habitats, creating new areas for wildlife to use, or finding ways to reconnect people with the natural world around them.

Plus at least two of these criteria:

  • Water in the natural environment – through projects that protect drinking water sources, enhance water quality or provide other benefits to wetland habitats
  • Community – encouraging local communities to enjoy the benefits of being outside and helping them to become more aware of the importance of the natural world. Or providing opportunities for Essex & Suffolk Water employees to volunteer to assist with projects in their operating area.
  • Drainage – protecting vulnerable areas to help deal with storm events.
  • Climate change – Help build capacity in the natural environment to deal with the effects of climate change.
  • Scientific research – relating to our local natural environment.

You can find more information about the scheme, including guidance notes and the application form, here: Branch Out (nwg.co.uk). The closing date is Thursday 29 February 2024.

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