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Exciting grants initiative launched for green projects in Ouse Valley

Exciting grants initiative launched for green projects in Ouse Valley

September 29, 2023

Grants of up to £5,000 for climate action, biodiversity restoration and sustainability are up for grabs as part of a new scheme in the Ouse Valley.

A pot of around £90,000 is being made available over a three-year period to help kickstart a wave of projects that help the environment and reduce carbon footprint across Lewes, Seaford, Peacehaven, Newhaven and surrounding villages.

A range of organisations are being invited to apply, including community groups, clubs, parish and town councils, social enterprises, community interest companies, charities, schools and businesses delivering non-profit projects.

The initiative, called “Community Pitch” as applicants will need to produce a one-minute video pitch about their idea, is being led by the lottery-backed Ouse Valley Climate Action (OVCA) partnership, with funding for the grants coming from the South Downs National Park Trust.

Victoria Crespi, Grants Officer for the South Downs National Park, said: “It’s hugely exciting to be launching the Community Pitch and our first round of delivery funding.

“We’re open to all kinds of projects that help the environment in the Ouse Valley. It could be anything from reducing waste and encouraging recycling, to supporting wildlife, encouraging walking or increasing energy efficiency.

“There’s a huge amount of ambition to do more to help the environment and tackle climate change, but local groups often lack funds. This is where the Community Pitch can make a real difference. Good luck to everyone!”

Last year OVCA beat over 600 applicants to be awarded £2m from the Community Lottery Fund to create one of the first communities in the UK to fully embrace climate action.

A flurry of activity has been taking place over the past 12 months and there are now 54 separate “mini-projects” that are being progressed and many are led by local community groups and partners.

OVCA is also enabling groups to develop work they are already doing, such as building community gardens, protecting wetlands and promoting community recycling.

Community Pitch applications will go to a shortlisting panel and those successful will have their video uploaded to Crowdfunder to raise their target. At the end of the deadline, those pitches that have reached their target will receive funding from the South Downs National Park Trust, which is the official charity for the National Park.

The deadline for applications is 31 October, 2023.

For more information and to apply visit https://southdownstrust.org.uk/community-pitch-2023-24

Money for Community Pitch comes directly from the South Downs National Park Trust as match funding for the lottery grant.

About OVCA

OVCA is a three-year project that will focus on three key areas: nature recovery and climate resilience; people’s knowledge and skills and greener energy and travel.

The main aims of the project are:

  • To capture more carbon with natural solutions, such as tree planting and creating new wildlife habitats.
  • To make space for water in the Ouse catchment, such as creating water habitats, to reduce flood risk and increase resilience to drought
  • To support more community green spaces and food-growing areas.
  • To empower and educate residents about climate action and sustainable living through inspiring events, engagement and training sessions.
  • To encourage behaviour change to help the environment.
  • To develop new local Community Energy Groups and community-owned renewable energy projects.
  • To deliver events and engagement around improving household energy efficiency.
  • To support new greener travel initiatives around walking, cycling and e-bikes.

The project has been made possible by the National Lottery Community Fund’s “Climate Action Fund”.

The project partners are: South Downs National Park Authority; South Downs National Park Trust, Lewes District Council, OVESCO, Community Energy South, Sussex Community Development Association, 3VA, Railway Land Wildlife Trust, Transition Town Lewes and Seaford Community Partnership.

Follow the project and sign up to OVCA newsletter at www.southdownstrust.org.uk/south-downs-projects/ouse-valley-climate-action/