Community Environment Fund returns for 2022

A £500,000 fund that brought wildflowers, bees, upcycling, food planting and climate awareness to communities across the Liverpool City Region is to return next year.

The Combined Authority has approved a further £500,000 to bring back Mayor Steve Rotheram’s Community Environment Fund for 2022 with a view to making the scheme larger and self-sustaining through private sector backing.

More than 150 bids were received for this year’s successful pilot with 58 projects chosen to share the £500,000 pot.

Schemes were delivered between March and September and included composting, the creation of an edible wall, work to restore habitats, climate education and the creation of a garden to help elderly people with physical and mental health issues.

Two Wirral projects that benefited from this year’s scheme were the Community Green Hub by Wirral Environmental Network that involved the rejuvenation of neglected green space previously used for fly-tipping, creating a tree nursery, an orchard, a community allotment, a pollinator area, and outdoor craft-upcycling space, supported by workshops.

The second was The Good Life Happy Earth Project by Woodchurch High School delivered workshops on the school farm aimed at educating people on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

Applications for Phase II funding will start early next year – with grants available for high impact community environment projects throughout the city region.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said, “Tackling climate change, improving the air that we breathe and saving our planet is the single biggest challenge that we face, and it will take enormous collective action to correct. It isn’t just about the actions of big organisations or ordinary members of the public – it’s about both.

“We’re working non-stop to accelerate the Liverpool City Region’s transition to net zero. We are developing the potential of massive energy projects like Mersey Tidal Power and have recently attracted major green investment in schemes like HyNet and Ford’s decision to manufacture new electric engines at Halewood. But it’s important we play our part as individuals too.

“Taken together, lots of small actions can make a massive difference. And that is exactly what the Community Environment Fund is all about: empowering our communities to take action in their own areas. It is a fantastic example of how devolution allows us to support projects that matter to local people.

“I have visited many of the projects that we funded and witnessed first hand the difference they have made to local communities. From educating our children on the importance of biodiversity and air quality, to beautifying our streets with wildflower meadows and urban beekeeping. I’m excited to see what other schemes people from across our region will bring forward this time around!”

The 2022 fund’s objectives will be to:

  • Improve the Liverpool City Region’s environment
  • Develop opportunities for environmental education to encourage long-term behavioural change
  • Promote community buy-in and participation to safeguard the long-term sustainability of quality green spaces

The fund will also seek to help the Liverpool City Region become net zero by 2040, reduce air pollution and improve the health and wellbeing of people across the whole city region.

A business case for a long-term, self-sustaining Community Environment Fund will also be developed.

The fund will help community environment organisations develop grant application skills to improve access to further local, regional, national and international funding streams.

The project aims to raise environmental awareness and deliver a physical impact – including biodiversity and carbon capture and to regenerate local communities.

It will also seek to increase employee productivity and improve the mental and physical wellbeing of residents – tackling health inequalities within high priority groups.

The fund’s application criteria will be decided by the Liverpool City Region Climate Partnership which was set up to provide expert advice on tackling the climate emergency.

Liverpool City Region Climate Emergency and Renewable Energy Portfolio Holder Cllr David Baines said, “This year we’ve seen the dramatic and lasting benefits this fund can bring which is why, as well as committing money to fund more schemes next year, we are seeking to develop a longer-term, self-sustaining funding model that will benefit the city region’s environment for years to come.”

Liverpool City Region Climate Emergency and Renewable Energy Deputy Portfolio Holder and Climate Partnership Deputy Chair Cllr Gill Wood said, “We’ve never failed to be impressed by the enthusiasm and determination of people in the city region to improve their environment. However, the impact of their work goes much further – helping tackle the global climate emergency and improving the wellbeing of people in their neighbourhoods. I’m very proud that once again we can support this vital work.”

Climate Partnership Chair Gideon Ben-Tovim OBE said, “This year’s Community Environment Fund delivered a wide range of outstanding and inspirational projects that show how local action can make a real difference to a global problem. Now that the fund is returning, I am sure we will once again be bowled over by the quality of the projects that come forward.”

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