The Green Recovery Challenge Fund

We are proud to announce that a partnership of locally based organisations, led by ourselves here at Middlesbrough Environment City, has been successful in receiving support through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund! The fourteen-month project will engage local people in practical action to improve our green environment, through volunteering and training opportunities.

The partnership includes Actes, The Linx Project Hemlington and The Other Perspective, and will work particularly with young people, BAME communities and refugees and asylum seekers. Focussing on Middlesbrough’s local wildlife sites, the volunteering and training opportunities will help improve and manage habitats, making them even better for wildlife. Through involvement, participants will also develop practical nature conservation skills and employability skills, as well as having a positive impact on their local area.

The project builds on previous projects including One Planet Pioneers, part of the National Lottery Community Fund Our Bright Future project, which has been helping young people into further training and jobs for over five years. Emily, pictured first, joined the initiative as an apprentice with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, working towards an award in nature conservation. After completing her apprenticeship she was successful in finding work with Middlesbrough Environment City as a Forest Schools Assistant, helping children and families to learn more about the natural world and become more physically active. Emily said: “The opportunity to build my skills and experience through my apprenticeship at Tees Valley Wildlife Trust has really helped me to get work in the environment sector. I really enjoy being able to share my own love of the natural world with others.”

The project will also help support other communities in Middlesbrough to make a positive difference, building on projects such as the Albert Park Community Allotment. From a Council depot to a place to enjoy, Middlesbrough Environment City with Investing in People and Culture have created a thriving allotment where asylum seekers, refugees and people of more than ten nationalities grow plants, alongside other residents. Ibrahim, who manages the site sees it as a place to make friends and improve English language skills while growing and nurturing crops. For Ibrahim, “it’s like one big family and a way of improving your mental wellbeing. The community garden is a good place, you have no fear, your mind is at ease.”

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) , who have announced grants between £62,000 and £3.8 million, to help create and retain thousands of green jobs. The projects, spread across England, will see trees planted – 800,000 in total – and protected landscapes and damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests restored, alongside wider conservation work. The projects will also support environmental education and connecting people with green spaces. The #GreenRecoveryChallengeFund is a key part of Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. The fund is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:
“These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus.

“I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now. All these projects are of huge benefit to our beautiful countryside and wildlife, but will also support jobs, health and wellbeing, which are vitally important as we begin to emerge from the coronavirus crisis.”

The government’s forthcoming Environment Bill puts the environment at the centre of policy making to ensure that we have a cleaner, greener and more resilient country for the next generation. The fund is supporting a range of nature conservation and recovery and nature-based solutions projects, which will contribute towards government’s wider 25 Year Environment Plan commitments, including commitments to increase tree-planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025.

Our team here at Middlesbrough Environment City, alongside Actes, the LINX Project and The Other Perspective are proud to work #TogetherForOurPlanet and help to teach others expand upon their conservation skills, providing a better future for our planet, for future generations, for the BAME community and for the refugees and asylum seekers who now call Middlesbrough home.