GRASS roots charities or community groups with projects to protect or improve the environment can apply for grants of up to £2,000 from a Wessex Water fund being run by Dorset Community Foundation.
The Wessex Water Environment Fund, which is open for applications until May 22, supports projects that involve communities in environmental activities to benefit their area, have a positive impact on local environments or educate people about the importance of supporting it.
Priority will be given to groups working to save water, cut the use of single-use plastics, reduce waste or improve 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 show community benefit to their project.”
Among the recipients from the last grant round in May 2022 were Wilding Wimborne, which was awarded £1,500 to continue its work protecting and enhancing the insect population around the town.
Having persuaded Wimborne Town Council to stop using pesticides, carrying out tree and flower planting and creating a bee trail with 11 bee homes, the group has been creating homes for small mammals like hedgehogs and for birds including swifts and house martens. It will also continue its tree-planting programme.
“We were amazed to have been given the grant,” said co-founder Linda Bunting. “We were able to go ahead with the tree planting and make some investment into our events. We have been running everything on a shoestring and it was lovely to be able to put some really decent leaflets out and put some good events on to raise even more awareness.”
The Friendly Food Club ran 14 interactive cookery demonstrations in Gillingham and Shaftsbury with its £1,400 grant, while Grounded Community in Bournemouth used its £1,500 grant to maintain its community gardens in the town which provide fresh vegetables and fruit for struggling families. The grant will also fund its community compost scheme which uses food waste to produce its Rocket Compost.
Plush Paddock Charitable Incorporated Organisation used its £1,500 grant to maintain and improve hedgerows and grassland at the beauty spot near Dorchester. Chairman of trustees John Lush said volunteers created a wildflower meadow and open public space and a community orchard.
Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “We are absolutely delighted to be continuing our partnership with Wessex Water, and helping to make a real difference to communities in Dorset.
“The company’s generosity and commitment to the area is to be applauded and we are proud that once again it is entrusting our knowledge of the community with its funds to help it make a real impact.”
Click here for full criteria and application advice.