Groundwork is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
Defra recently announced grants between £62,000 and £3.8 million to help create and retain thousands of green jobs. The projects, spread across England, will see trees planted – 800,000 in total – and protected landscapes and damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests restored, alongside wider conservation work. The projects will also support environmental education and connecting people with green spaces.
Groundwork’s project received £2,217,900 from the fund and will create jobs for young people and unlock voluntary action on nature recovery and climate change by undertaking urgent work to protect and enhance parks and green spaces in communities in the Midlands and North, where Covid has exacerbated health inequalities.
Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s national chief executive, said:
“We’re delighted to have been awarded this grant, which will allow us to deliver activities that help nature recover on sites that matter to local communities: green spaces in towns with high levels of deprivation; country parks in urban fringe areas; pockets of public space in isolated rural communities.
“Thanks to the Green Recovery Challenge Fund we will improve more than 70 sites in 24 local areas with a combined coverage of 850Ha, create 114 jobs and work with 2,500 volunteers.”
The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. The fund is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:
“These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus.
“I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now. All these projects are of huge benefit to our beautiful countryside and wildlife, but will also support jobs, health and wellbeing, which are vitally important as we begin to emerge from the coronavirus crisis.”
The government’s forthcoming Environment Bill puts the environment at the centre of policy making to ensure that we have a cleaner, greener and more resilient country for the next generation. The fund is supporting a range of nature conservation and recovery and nature-based solutions projects, which will contribute towards government’s wider 25 Year Environment Plan commitments, including commitments to increase tree-planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025.
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