Local community groups benefit from environmental grants
Published by Craig Downs for Keepmoat in Communities and also in Housing
Rob Hewitt, Livingstone Road Community Allotment Project Worker pictured with volunteer, Lurlyn Salmon at the allotment who were awarded a gold award of £1,500 for their project
Local communities across North Lozells in Birmingham are set to receive make-overs after a number of voluntary and community organisations were awarded environmental grants to help make their neighbourhoods safer, cleaner and greener.
Ten charitable and community groups in Lozells and East Handsworth received small environmental grants to fund local projects and activities that have been identified as a priority by the Lozells and East Handsworth Environmental and Housing Forum (LEHEHF).
The grants are being managed by housing and care organisation Midland Heart who received a £5,000 donation from Apollo Group, now part of Keepmoat, to support charitable and community activities.
The LEHEHF invited local groups to apply for the grants which included one gold award for £1,500 and a mix of silver awards for £500 and £200 bronze awards.
The Livingstone Road Community Allotment project, which provides activities to socially isolated people living in nearby hostels or supported accommodation, was awarded the gold award grant of £1,500.
Rob Hewitt, Livingstone Road Community Allotment Project Worker, said: “We want people to enjoy the benefits of their local green environment and if they do, we think they will help to look after it better. This funding is enabling us to set up special activities to attract new groups onto the allotments for the first time and we hope we can build on-going partnerships with some of them so they keep coming back.
“It has started to open up the allotment project to the wider community and our Harvest Festival event in November will be a chance for the groups to come back and to invite friends and neighbours to see what we have been doing.”
The money awarded will be used to involve and connect local people of all ages and promote the benefits of green spaces to people living in the area. The Birchfield Residents Action Group are delivering the project in partnership with Edible Eastside (a community-led edible garden in Digbeth) and the funding is being used to run a series of taster activities such as planting and harvesting crops, art workshops, talks and cooking sessions. It is hoped that the grant will introduce the project to new groups and activities and a Harvest Festival will take place for the whole community to celebrate the productivity and positivity of the site as a community resource.
The Bangladeshi Youth Forum in Lozells was awarded a silver grant of £500 towards their environmental conference. The one-day conference will be held in November and aims to raise awareness about the importance of recycling amongst elderly people living within the community. Young people from the centre will be putting together a flyer and will be talking to residents about recycling, collecting rubbish and how to contact the council for bulky waste.
Apsana Khatun, Development Co-ordinator at the Bangladeshi Youth Forum, said: “We are always pleased to access grants as it helps our young people to get involved in projects like this. The project will help us to attract new people but to also engage with the elderly community. The conference will keep our young people active, occupied but also up to date about the environment and the importance of recycling.”
Other projects to benefit from the small environmental grants include the ‘From Grot to Green’ scheme run by the Handsworth Health and Wellbeing Group who are organising clean-ups and building and planting planters in the area and also the ‘Go Keen, Go Green’ project which organised two weeks of recycling awareness sessions in South Asian languages for women attending the Mashriq Challenge Resource Centre in Lozells.
Paul Senior, Regeneration Managing Director from Keepmoat, said: “It is great to see the number and range of voluntary and community organisations benefitting from these grants, which will help to tackle the environmental issues in their area.
“Keepmoat worked in partnership with Midland Heart to convert houses of multi-occupancy in North Lozells into family homes and the donation of £5,000 was our commitment to support the local community. I am looking forward to re-visiting Lozell and East Handsworth to see the impact these projects have had on the local community and wish them well with their activities.”
Ashok Patel,Regeneration Project Officer at Midland Heart, said: “This donation has provided an opportunity for local groups to be really creative and address environmental issues in our communities. The funding has enabled me to link up community groups with each other and opened up avenues to develop other projects to support the community.”