A fund that aims to build resilience in the region’s natural environment and help in adaptation to effects of changing climate, is inviting funding applications for new projects.

Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out fund, has been a finalist at the prestigious ‘Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2017’, seeks to raise awareness and provide engagement amongst stakeholders and the community around environmental issues.

Applications are being invited from organisations, community groups and individuals from the public, private, voluntary and education sectors. Boosts of grant from £1 to £25,000 are given to projects that are judged against set criteria, which seeks to benefit wildlife and enhance the environment and communities that the water company operates in.

Since 2013, the water company’s ‘Branch Out’ fund has contributed £253,000 to 58 projects in its regions. The projects are also often given extra support via the company’s employee volunteering.

Stuart Pudney, Conservation and Land Manager, Northumbrian Water said, “A healthy natural environment is essential for supplying top quality drinking water. Northumbrian Water set up the Branch Out fund in direct response to how it would help to build resilience and adapt to effects of a changing climate whilst bringing benefits to water, wildlife and communities.’’

‘’Since its inception, Branch Out has contributed substantially to the local communities and wildlife. We are now inviting funding applications for projects, that are looking for funding and boosts for aiming to deliver benefits to the criteria mentioned.’’

‘’Details on how to apply and help with the application with examples can be found on our website.’’ he said.

Speaking about the application process, Simon Wilson from The North Pennines, who manages the Nectarworks project said, “We found the application process clear and easy, including whether our proposal was eligible and communication throughout the process was good. The work we have carried out with the support of the Branch Out Fund is of national significance and has allowed us to conserve and enhance some of our rarest habitats through involving communities, school children and volunteers in essential nature conservation.’’

All new applications will be carefully considered by the team, and funding decisions will be given by March 2017. The last date for the final entries is 28 February 2017. Details of how to apply and the application form can be found on: https://www.nwl.co.uk/your-home/environment/branch-out.aspx

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