The deadline is rapidly approaching for applications to the current round of Essex & Suffolk Water′s Branch Out scheme, which offers grants of up to £25,000 to projects that benefit the natural environment, wildlife and local communities.



Branch Out will be focusing its support on projects that help to improve the water environment, or schemes such as the Queen’s Green Canopy project which invites people to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”, within the Essex & Suffolk Water operating area, and 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 31 August 2022.


Since launching in 2013, the original Branch Out fund has awarded grants worth more than £600,000 across over 140 different projects. In 2020 the water company launched two more schemes as part of Branch Out which support Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) and Priority Habitats.


Judging for the most recent round of Branch Out funding took place in March 2022, with around £17,000 of funding being allocated across four new projects. One of which is the canoe access and biodiversity project on the River Waveney in Suffolk.


Miranda Cooper, Conservation and Land Manager for Essex & Suffolk 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.


 "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 the end of August 2022."


Projects can also be supported by ‘Just an Hour', Essex & Suffolk Water’s employee volunteering programme.


The Essex and Suffolk River Trust made a successful bid for the company’s INNS Branch Out funding for their new project which will look at invasive crayfish species, receiving a grant of £15,000.


Andy Went, Project and Catchment Officer for Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust said: “Several species of crayfish are found in UK freshwaters, however, only a single species, Austropotamobius pallipes, is native. 


“This well-needed funding from Essex & Suffolk Water will help our project so that we can investigate and understand the status of native and non-native crayfish, using data collection, across three catchments including the Blackwater, Chelmer and Colne. These schemes allow for local action to protect native species and offer a platform for further investment into environmental projects.”


Full details on how to apply are available here. All applications will be carefully considered and judged against set criteria. Decisions for applications received by 31 August 2022 will be provided by 30 September 2022.