Communities doing their bit for the environment

Midlands Mayor Andy Street with Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust - part of the #LoveYourStour project

Ahead of World Environment Day on Monday 5th June, the contribution of communities across the West Midlands to improving the natural environment and tackling the climate emergency is being celebrated.

The West Midlands Combined Authority’s Community Green Grants fund is helping to restore waterways, plant trees, create ponds, wildflower meadows and urban parks, as well as to grow fruit and vegetables.

Seventeen locally led projects across the West Midlands regiom have now shared grants totalling almost £500,000, providing new or improved access to green space for the more than 200,000 residents who live within a 15-minute walk of these sites - one of the key aims of the region’s Natural Environment Plan.

 In Dudley, grants have been given to:

  • Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust - £99,990 to restore 2kms of the River Stour in Cradley Heath and Lye, 3.5 hectares of ancient woodland, create one hectare of species rich grassland and the planting of 2,000 trees and shrubs.
  • EKHO Collective CIC, Hawbush Community Gardens, Dudley - £21,130 to transform two unused allotment plots into a therapeutic sensory garden, with improvements to the woodland and the creation of a wildlife pond. DIYYA,
  • Lye - £25,000 to take on a second allotment to help more women and families grow their own produce and to expand its weekly gardening club.

Whilst in Sandwell the following community organisations have been successful:

  • Spectra Arts CIC, Sandwell - £20,189 to create a biodiverse pocket park in the grounds of Sandwell Hospital, offering green space as a respite staff, patients, visitors, and the local community.
  • The Dorothy Parkes Centre, Bearwood Road Allotments, Smethwick - £23,977 to take on a second allotment to grow fruit and vegetables to help local people experiencing food poverty and provide produce to foodbanks.

The Mayor said: “The Community Green Grants scheme is making a very real and practical difference at the local level - empowering people to bring about tangible improvements to their neighbourhoods.

“Whether it’s creating wildflower meadows, planting trees or encouraging children to engage with nature, it’s brilliant to see how the Green Grants we’ve been able to award are driving change for the better in communities right across our region. “Together, we’re helping to improve and preserve our natural environment. It’s great to be able to say thank you to all those local heroes doing such fantastic work.”

The WMCA Community Green Grants fund was established as part of the Natural Environment Plan, which sets out the actions the WMCA and its partners will take to enhance the region's biodiversity, protect endangered species, and improve access to green spaces and waterways for residents.

Applications can still be made for small grants of between £3,000 and £25,000 or large grants of up to £100,000 with priority given to projects in communities where there is green deprivation.

The WMCA is working in partnership with the Heart of England Community Foundation, which is managing the online portal and supporting the application and appraisal process.


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