Wessex Water Environment Fund open for applications to green projects

Water firm's fund offers grants of up to £1,500

Wessex Water Environment Fund open for applications to green projects

GRASS roots charities or community groups who are planning projects to protect or improve the environment can apply for grants of up to £1,500 from a Wessex Water fund being run by Dorset Community Foundation.

The Wessex Water Environment Fund, which is open for applications until May 27, was created by the company to support projects involving 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 2021 were St Mary Gillingham Scouts, which used a £1,000 grant 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 learnt about looking after it and about the wildlife who visit as part of their badge work.”

Blandford St Mary Allotment Association was awarded £640 for two extra water troughs, to help make the supply more accessible to members. Island Community Action  was given £1,500 to help create a wildlife garden at Atlantic Academy on Portland. ICA chief executive Kim Wilcocks said: “There’s a lot of deprivation in Portland but also a passion for the local environment and we wanted to bring that passion into the school area.

The garden has four areas, a coastal, a stone amphitheatre, a sensory area and a growing area. “The first section we are working on is the coastal area and the grant was essential in helping us cover the costs, so we are very grateful.”

Youngsters from 24th Bournemouth Scouts are able to recycle even more single-use plastic, thanks to a £1,500 grant. The group has 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.

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 is funding a gardener to replace an ageing pond and set the project in motion. The garden will be terraced and give the school’s 380 pupils the opportunity to have lessons outdoors.

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.

We are absolutely delighted to be continuing our partnership with Wessex Water, and helping to make a real difference to communities in Dorset

Litter campaigners Oceans To Earth in Poole has been 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 Miss Bailey 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 is helping 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.”

An £1,100 grant to Poole Missional Communities has helped litter picks in Turlin Moor, Old Town and Oakdown in Poole continue to keep the community clean and tidy. The grant covered 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, 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.”

Full criteria and application advice can be found here.

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