Local projects which benefit the natural environment, wildlife and local communities could receive a funding boost of up to £25,000 from Northumbrian Water′s Branch Out scheme.

Since launching in 2013 Branch Out has awarded grants worth nearly £350,000 across over 80 different projects.


Judging for the most recent round of Branch Out funding took place last month, with nearly £40,000 in funding allocated across 11 new projects, including schemes run by Durham Wildlife Trust, Tyne Rivers Trust and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Applications for Branch Out funding are welcomed from local organisations, community groups and individuals from the public, private, voluntary and education sectors. The deadline for consideration in the current funding round is Thursday 28 February 2019.


Projects which receive Branch Out funding can also be supported by ‘Just an Hour′, Northumbrian Water′s employee volunteering programme. Last year Branch Out was a finalist at the prestigious Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards, which recognise excellence and innovation in sustainability.


Stuart Pudney, Conservation and Land Manager for Northumbrian Water, said: "A healthy natural environment is essential for us to supply top quality drinking water. Since launching in 2013 Branch Out has made a really significant contribution to helping this region build resilience and adapt to the changing climate, whilst benefiting water, wildlife and local communities.


"Branch Out is open to small and large schemes, so we encourage local organisations, groups and individuals to get their bids into us before the next deadline at the end of February 2019."


The Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) was successful in applying for Branch Out funding earlier this year, securing £2,000 for wildlife conservation work at the Gosforth Park Nature Reserve.


Director, Clare Freeman said "Securing this funding of £2,000 will make a huge difference as it will enable us to carry out reedbed management work, ensuring the habitat is maintained for species such a bitterns, which are always a favourite for people to see.


"We shall be able to offer far more moth recording events throughout the year, increasing our biological monitoring of this precious reserve and enabling people to learn about these fascinating insects."


Full details on how to apply are available at www.branchout-nw.co.uk. All applications will be carefully considered and judged against set criteria. Decisions for applications received by 28 February 2019 will be provided by 31 March 2019.