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Mayor’s fund that brought beekeeping, community gardens and wildflowers to the Liverpool City Region set to return for third year

  • Community Environment Fund’s total investment rises to £1.35m
  • Local authorities set to to receive a further £3.5m to support environmental schemes
  • Fund already supported 92 grassroots environment projects
  • Schemes have also included upcycling, food planting and climate awareness

Mayor Steve Rotheram’s Community Environment Fund is set to return for a third year.

The fund has already supported 92 projects across the Liverpool City Region from beekeeping and rare lambs to windflower meadows, upcycling, food projects and climate awareness.

If approved at Friday’s Combined Authority meeting, the latest round would bring the total investment to £1.35m over three years and is on top of a further £3.3m provided to local authorities from the Combined Authority’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund allocation to support projects that facilitate green space and the building of safe resilient communities.

The fund aims to encourage long-term behavioural change, while improving the city region’s environment and safeguarding the sustainability of our greenspaces.

Grants of up to £30,000 will be available to grassroots environment projects under Phase 3 – with applications due to open later this year.

Steve Rotheram Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

“Devolution is all about giving local people a stake – and a say – in their future and it was in that same spirit that I launched my Community Environment Fund. Any group who believes they have a great idea to improve their local environment and community for the better can get involved – and I’ve been absolutely blown away by the impact it’s had so far. We’ve empowered hundreds of our residents to work together, to get creative and encourage long-lasting behaviour change.

“Because while we’re busy pressing ahead with our projects and plans to reach net zero by 2040 – at least a decade before national government targets – the power of our community cannot be underestimated in helping us achieve our ambitions. Taken together, lots of small actions from ordinary people working together with a common purpose can make a massive difference. This is delivering real, positive change to our people’s lives – and our planet – and I can’t wait to see what this next year holds in store.”

The Community Environment Fund has so far seen more than 750 people across the city region volunteer time to deliver projects which have created 15,000 m2 of new habitat, planted 30,000 plants and trees, and produced more than 8,000 kg of sustainable food amongst other benefits.

Last year’s projects included the creation of a community garden on wasteland rife with flytipping in Toxteth led by Mulgrave Street Action Group, a bike refurbishment and cycling project put together by veterans from Halton Veterans’ Legion CIC to support their mental health and an urban garden in Kirkby where people can use plants and nature as a form of therapy run by Eco Therapy Garden CIC.

The results meet the objectives in the Combined Authority’s Five Year Climate Action Plan which outlines how the fund, and the projects it has supported, are vital in ensuring that communities are empowered to make positive environmental change.

For Phase 3, the Combined Authority will seek to increase outside investment such as private sector match funding for projects.

Councillor David Baines, Portfolio Holder for Net-Zero and Air Quality at the Combined Authority said:

“I’m looking forward to seeing what innovative projects our communities will come up with to help create a cleaner, greener Liverpool City Region for the future.

“Every Community Environment Fund project we have supported so far has addressed at least one of the nine themes of our Climate Action Plan. They are helping us move towards becoming net zero by 2040, reducing air pollution and improve the health and wellbeing of people across the whole city region, so we can’t stop now.”

Jenny Griggs, Director of the Fir Tree Community Growers received funding last year for a project giving children from urban areas a taste of greenspace. She said:

“I started Fir Tree Growers because it’s something I strongly believe in. Seeing the children engage with nature is absolutely transformative for them and if we can play a part in opening up this world, then I feel that stays with them forever.”

More details on who is eligible and how to apply for the Community Environment Fund will be published later this year.