From Cornwall Council:
Community groups can apply for up to £1,000 to create more woodland, orchards and hedgerows in their towns and villages as part of an innovative Cornwall Council and Crowdfund Cornwall project.
As part of the Grow Nature Seed Fund, the Branch Out campaign is aimed at increasing the tree canopy in Cornwall by supporting small-scale projects for wildlife-rich spaces.
There is also a chance to apply to Cornwall Council’s Community Chest Scheme to support projects to improve local areas, from geothermal-heated pools to pollinator-friendly planting schemes to music festivals and first aid courses.
Free crowdfunding training for potential projects is available this month in Launceston, Bodmin and Camborne and cash is potentially available for each eligible scheme both from the Grow Nature Seed Fund or Cornwall Councillor Community Chest Scheme.
Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency earlier this year setting out aspirations to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Trees play a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen so woodland creation provides a cost-effective solution to greenhouse gas emissions as well as giving social and economic benefits to communities.
Carefully situated trees and hedgerow planting can also protect soil from erosion caused by wind or rain and reduce the risk and impact of flooding.
A report from State of Nature based on wildlife data has highlighted that over the long term, the UK has lost 53% of woodland species and a further 11% is threatened with extinction.
Sue James, Cornwall portfolio holder for the environment and public protection, said:
“If you are a nature lover and have a particular soft spot for trees and woodlands then Branch Out might just be what you need to turn your passion into reality.
“It’s a scheme aimed specifically at increasing tree cover in Cornwall by supporting woodland, orchard and hedgerow planting.
“You may be a community group keen to plant fruit and nut trees, a town or parish council or scout group wanting to increase tree cover in and around your premises, or a residents’ association with ideas for more street trees to enhance your local area and improve air quality. If so, we’d love to hear from you.”
The Grow Nature Seed Fund scheme and Crowdfund Cornwall have already successfully supported projects such as the Bude Community Orchard.
This project raised £1,760 with 55 supporters in 28 days thanks to the local community and £500 pledged by Cornwall Council. These funds were used for the planting of a traditional orchard, which combined with the group’s existing biodiversity trail will support wild bee populations and create awareness of their vital role in pollinating.
The fruit will be distributed to the community to help promote healthy diets, and the site will be enhanced throughout the year, especially at blossom time.
Crowdfund Cornwall is holding three free workshops giving advice on attracting community funding for projects later this month.
Topics to be covered include the benefits of crowdfunding, what makes a good crowdfunding project and accessing advice and support.
Cllr Edwina Hannaford, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods, said: “Crowdfund Cornwall is all about making great projects happen by harnessing the power of local community action to draw donations, publicity, supporters and volunteers from people from all walks of life who believe in your project.
“These free workshops are a fantastic source of information and inspiration to anyone in a local community who has a great idea and thinks crowd funding might help them to turn it into a reality.”
Any locally constituted and recognised ‘not for profit’ organisations are eligible to apply for the Grow Nature Branch Out scheme or other community projects funded by Crowdfunder.