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 inviting funding applications for new projects.

Applications for Branch Out funding are welcomed from organisations, community groups and individuals from the public, private, voluntary and education sectors. The scheme is designed to support projects within the Northumbrian Water operating area which benefit wildlife and enhance the local environment. The closing date for applications for the current round of funding is Thursday 31 August 2017.

Since launching in 2013 Branch Out has awarded £250,000 of funding across 58 different projects and has gained national recognition being a finalist at the prestigious Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards, which recognise excellence and innovation in sustainability. Projects can also be supported by ‘Just an Hour’, Northumbrian Water’s employee volunteering programme.

Stuart Pudney, Conservation and Land Manager, 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 not only for our wellbeing but also to supply top quality drinking water.

“We are now accepting applications for the current round of funding, and with grants upto £25,000 available we encourage organisations, groups and individuals to get their bids in to us by 31 August.”

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 31 August 2017 will be provided by 30 September 2017.

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.