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Growth in green projects as £50k awarded in grants to community groups

GRANTS totalling £50,000 have been awarded by the Somerset Community Foundation to 22 groups to create or develop green community spaces across Somerset.

The grants were made possible thanks to Somerset County Council and with the support of Somerset Community Food.

A spokesperson for the foundation said: “Green social prescribing, nature-based therapy, growing and nature all featured prominently in the applications for grants from the Growing Grants funding programme, many in relation to recovery from the pandemic.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s health and wellbeing and has further increased awareness of the value of spending time outdoors and the benefits of engaging with green spaces.”

Benefits for mental health

Leader of Somerset County Council David Fothergill said: “Gardening, growing and being with others who enjoy these activities have such benefits for mental as well as physical health.

The pandemic has made us all appreciate being outdoors and it’s even better if that means growing your own produce and enjoying the fruits of your labours. It is so encouraging to see our seed funding grow such strong community roots.”

Andy Ridgewell, Senior Grants Manager at SCF, added:A few years ago we started to get more applications from groups using gardening to help people in their communities.

Grow for Good

“In March 2019 we worked with Spark Somerset to organise a networking session called Grow for Good, bringing together over 20 local gardening and horticultural projects to network, exchange ideas, and potentially work together.

The outcome was a conversation with Somerset County Council about sustainable food systems and food poverty, and directly influenced the creation of the £50,000 Growing Grants fund.”

The groups that were awarded funding from the Growing Grants programme include:

  • Axbridge Community Allotment Association, £824 for a new shed and polytunnel repair for allotment sit
  • Friends of Dunster School, £2,200 to enhance an outdoor area for growing projects
  • Frieze Hill Community Orchard, Taunton, £1,050 for new trees and a willow workshop
  • The Nelson Trust, Bridgwater, £2,500 for a new garden group at a Women’s Centre
  • Transition Town Wellington, £2,743 for plants, tools, signage and booklets for their community growing site

The foundation spokesperson added: “Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply

“Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy.

“We aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

“We provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.”

Since the SCF was founded in 2002 it has awarded more than £15m in funding.

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