A PARTNERSHIP with Wessex Water has meant Dorset Community Foundation has been able to award more than £16,000 to grass roots groups for projects aimed at improving the environment in their communities.
The Wessex Water Environment Fund was launched with the community foundation by The Wessex Water Foundation, a multi-million-pound initiative, launched in June 2020, which provides a dedicated funding stream for projects across the region.
St Mary Gillingham Scouts have been awarded £1,000 to replant an unkempt hedge near their base at Milton-on-Stour with wildlife-friendly saplings. Beaver Scout Leader Jackie Westbrook said: “ As well as learning about planting the hedge members will learn about looking after it and about the wildlife who visit as part of their badge work.”
A £640 grant to Blandford St Mary Allotment Association will pay for two extra water troughs, which will help make the supply more accessible to members. “Several of the Allotmenteers are elderly and have strength and mobility issues and/or long-term health conditions, so we need to ensure everyone has equal access to a water supply close to their allotment so they can water their produce,” said chair Debbie Albery.
Students at Atlantic Academy on Portland will be able to enjoy a wildlife garden at the school thanks to a £1,500 grant to Island Community Action, which is working with the school to create it on an unused grassy area.
ICA chief executive Kim Wilcocks said: “There’s a lot of deprivation in Portland but also a passion for the local environment and we want to bring that passion into the school area.
“We want to turn this area into something that is environmentally every rich and educate the children as well as build their respect for nature and the bio-diversity of the area.”
The garden will have four areas, a coastal, a stone amphitheatre, a sensory area and a growing area. “The first section of the garden we are working on is the coastal area and the grant was essential in helping us cover the costs, so we are very grateful. We have built an eco-friendly base and covered it with shingle to reflect the beach.”
Hard-working youngsters from 24th Bournemouth Scouts will be able to recycle even more single-use plastic, thanks to a £1,500 grant. The group have been collecting crisp packets, sweet wrappers, medicine packaging and other hard-to-recycle items for the community and sending it to a specialist company.
The grant will pay for collecting boxes, tape and other equipment to allow the groups to continue growing its service. “We already recycle around 80kg of single use plastic each month. We have several requests for the medicinal packaging and hard to recycle plastics which we do not have the capital to fund as a Scout group for the local community but would like to support if we can to reduce waste going to landfill and litter in the local area,” said leader Louise Bradley.
The first section of the garden we are working on is the coastal area and the grant was essential in helping us cover the costs
A forest garden will give pupils at Bridport Primary School a taste of the outdoors – as well as fruit from the trees and bushes planted in it. A £1,500 grant to Transition Towns Bridport will fund a gardener to replace an ageing pond and set the project in motion.
“The grant will help with the pond, which we are extending, so that is a huge help,” said Sarah Wilberforce, chief executive of Transition Towns Bridport. The garden will be terraced and give the school’s 380 pupils the opportunity to have lessons outdoors.
“Forest gardens are always full of food so will have productive trees that produce nuts and berries, as well as bushes that will produce the soft fruits. We also have a 22-year-old polytunnel that will be refurbished and go into the garden as well,” said Mrs Wilberforce.
The BeeWayZz Hub at Bere Marsh Farm, near Blandford, has been awarded £1,500 to build five new hives and go out on the road promoting its bee-friendly flower corridors and encouraging more people to plant pollinating plants.
Litter campaigners Oceans To Earth in Poole will be able to help more groups in the area to clean up their communities after receiving a £1,500 grant.
Founder Rosie Bailey said: “This is a massive help to us because we want to buy equipment to lend to nurseries, schools, play groups and lots of other organisations who contact us to help them.
The group was founded in 2018 when Rosie and other friends became fed up with seeing abandoned plastic along the coast. It is now the only source of free-to-loan litter-picking equipment in the area. The grant will buy litter-picking tools, heavy duty bags and cards explaining how to run litter picks and how to sort the rubbish collected.
The group, who are all volunteers, are looking for premises in Poole and are available to visit schools for talks about ocean pollution and carbon capture.
A £1,300 grant will help North Bournemouth Crime Prevention Panel’s project to restore the East Howe Churchyard to its former glory. Volunteers have been clearing the Victorian graveyard of overgrown bushes and shrubs after concerns that it was become a hotspot for anti-social behaviour.
“Locals have cleared this wonderful little historical gem into a place of peace, encouraged wildlife, planted wildflowers, put up bird boxes” said panel co-ordinator Deidre Redstone. “Over 90 vodka bottles, 12 sacks of lager tins, needles, mountains of litter were gradually cleared and undergrowth cut back to wonderful old local gravestones.”
The grant will pay for information leaflets and a new bench for visitors to sit and appreciate the open space.
An £1,100 grant to Poole Missional Communities will help litter picks in Turlin Moor, Old Town and Oakdown in Poole continue to keep the community clean and tidy. The grant will be spent on equipment and transport.
Rev Lucy Bolster said: “We have been holding these litter picks monthly, except when disallowed by lockdown restrictions, for at least two years. The amount of rubbish we collect each month for collection by the council is a clear sign that this ongoing work of clearing and education around plastic free living is needed.”
Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “We are absolutely delighted to be continuing our partnership with Wessex Water, which is making a huge difference to communities in Dorset.
“The company’s generosity and commitment to the area will mean these fantastic projects will bring communities together, improve the environment and create better places for people to go.”
Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s head of community engagement, said: “We are really pleased that these grants are going to support projects important to Dorset communities and will help people come together who want to protect and enhance nature in their local area.”