Introduction to the Community Environment Fund
The Community Environment Fund was launched in October 2023 by West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The Community Environment Fund has £1m of grant funding available to support communities in delivering initiatives that improve the environment and people's lives.
Approximately 30 small grants of up to £25,000 and 5 large grants of up to £100,000 will be awarded for projects under the following project themes:
- Natural environment - to protect, restore and enhance nature and wildlife.
- Access to green space - to provide better access to and community use of green space for health and wellbeing – similar to the recent Community Green Grants programme.
- Climate adaptation - to make communities more resilient and prepared for the impacts of climate change
- Circular economy - to reduce waste and keep resources and materials in use for as long as possible.
- Environment awareness - to improve knowledge of environment issues and support behaviour change.
WMCA has appointed Heart of England Community Foundation (HoECF) to support with the delivery of the Community Environment Fund and the application process will be managed using HoECF’s website.
Before you complete an application form you may wish to review some general guidance about completing funding application forms.
The Government has awarded £70 million from the recent Commonwealth Games to help communities in the West Midlands. Some of these funds are to be used to help improve the environmental sustainability of the region through community action.
This will allow the WMCA to build on the success of its Community Green Grants programme, that helped
community groups and wildlife charities increase access to nature and improve biodiversity. Following the feedback from the Community Green Grants programme, the WMCA is using some of the new funding to begin the Community Environment Fund. Community groups can now apply to the Fund and act on a wider range of environmental issues.
Our region faces a range of challenges and changes to create a sustainable future for itself. It is difficult to influence some of these but this programme seeks to support local people and communities to develop projects to tackle some of environmental issues that our region faces.
Our aim is to protect, restore and enhance nature and wildlife.
There are many different ways local people can take action to help create a better balance with the natural environment. Projects may address one of these areas:
- Biodiversity enhancement projects in existing community spaces
- Habitat creation for pollinators, creation, restoration, enhancement and management
- Species focused projects at landscape scale
- Pond creation and river restoration
Access to Green or Blue Space
Our aim is to provide better access to and community use of green and blue spaces for health and wellbeing
As part of our efforts to improve the quality of life in the West Midlands, we recognise the how important it is for residents and communities to be able to access and enjoy the wide variety of natural spaces in the West Midlands. There are a wide range of access to open space projects that would be eligible for funding, including the following:
- Community gardens and pocket parks
- Roof gardens
- Rivers and canals management
- Habitat creation - woodlands, hedgerows, meadows etc.
- Managing urban parks for people and wildlife
- Monitoring wildlife
Our aim is to make communities more resilient and prepared for the impacts of climate change.
Our climate is changing and in the West Midlands we are going to see warmer, wetter winters, hotter, drier summers and more extreme weather events. These new weather events are not what we are used to. Climate adaptation is about taking steps to cope with, build resilience against and benefit from the effects of climate change. There are a variety of ways to change our neighbourhoods, and how we live, some changes that communities can make include planning for:
- Heavy rainfall and or flooding in the winter
- Low rainfall and or drought in the summer
- Colder winters and hotter summers
- Extreme weather events
Aim: to reduce waste and keep resources and materials in use for as long as possible.
The circular economy considers what we do with items we use each day, with a focus on repair and reuse rather than sending things to landfill. By doing this, we ensure all of the resources we use to make things are not wasted but instead, we keep them in use for as long as possible. Taking this approach in our communities provides a range of benefits:
- Economic – generate business opportunities, and jobs
- Environmental – help to reduce our carbon emissions and pollution
- Social – a more circular economy could reduce harmful air and water pollution, increase biodiversity, and create more cohesive communities. People can save money by keeping products in use for longer, providing more disposable income for other living costs.
Our aim: to improve knowledge of environment issues and support behaviour change.
Supporting people to better understand environmental issues is an important first step to creating a better environment for all. It helps to encourage behaviour by empowering people to make informed decisions and giving them the motivation to take action. There are many types of projects that can support raising awareness, including awareness and education or opportunities to gain new skills. It is anticipated that environment awareness projects will be focus on the other themes of the Community Environment Fund.
If you wish to speak to our team please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org