Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out scheme, which offers grants of up to £25,000 to projects which benefit the natural environment and local communities, is once again inviting funding applications from new projects.

Branch Out is designed to support projects within the Northumbrian Water operating area which enhance the local environment and benefit wildlife. Applications are welcomed from organisations, community groups and individuals from the public, private, voluntary and education sectors. The deadline for the current round of funding is 28 February 2018.

Since launching in 2013 Branch Out has awarded grants worth over £280,000 across 66 different projects. Projects can also be supported by ‘Just an Hour’, Northumbrian Water’s employee volunteering programme. Earlier this year Branch Out was a finalist at the prestigious Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards, which recognise excellence and innovation in sustainability.

Judging for the most recent round of Branch Out funding took place in September 2017, with over £30,000 of funding being allocated across eight new projects.

Stuart Pudney, Conservation and Land Manager for Northumbrian Water, said: “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. A healthy natural environment is essential for us to supply top quality drinking water.

“We are now accepting applications for the current round of funding, and with grants from £1 to £25,000 available we encourage organisations, groups and individuals to get their bids in to us by 28 February 2018.”

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has been successful in applications for Branch Out funding. Organiser Emma Wright said: “We received a £14,000 grant from Branch Out for our work to tackle major erosion issues on the rivers East and West Allen. This, matched with funding from other sources, allowed us to protect 30km of rivers from polluting metals from historic mine waste, improving valuable river habitats and protecting popular footpaths from erosion.

“Earlier this year we made another successful application for Branch Out funding for our Allen Valley Field Trees project, which will bring on the next generation of field trees to replace the veteran ash, oak and sycamores which dominate our lower dale landscape. 400 new trees will be planted to add to the woodland cover and biodiversity of these North Pennines valleys. The process of applying for Branch Out funding is straightforward and we have been well supported throughout the application process.”

Full details on how to apply are available at All applications will be carefully considered and judged against set criteria. Decisions for applications received by 28 February 2018 will be provided by 30 March 2018.

Image attached: The North Pennines AONB Partnership created a new fish pass over the weir at Allen Mills. The project was supported by a £14,000 grant from Northumbrian Water′s Branch Out fund.