Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust receives £249,500 from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund
Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Defra has allocated grants between £62,000 and £3.8 million to help create and retain thousands of green jobs. The projects, spread across England, will see trees planted – 800,000 in total – and protected landscapes and damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests restored, alongside wider conservation work. The projects will also support environmental education and connecting people with green spaces.
Following the successful bid for funding, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust is launching the South Yorkshire Nature Networks project to pilot local nature recovery strategies. Working with partners from the South Yorkshire Local Nature Partnership, the trust will begin to develop action plans that can both aid nature’s recovery, respond to the climate crisis and meet some of the demand from local communities for more involvement and access to nature where they live.
The project will also deliver on four sites in South Yorkshire owned or managed by the Trust or Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, each with their own important natural heritage and community. The pilot scheme will create, expand and enhance woodland and wetland habitat, helping to reduce local flood risk by planting trees and creating ‘leaky dams’ to slow the flow of water. It will also create opportunities to help local communities connect with nature on their doorstep.
Liz Ballard, CEO of Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, explains why the project is needed now: “We know that nature is in decline and the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. This picture of decline is no different in South Yorkshire, with the ongoing loss of important priority habitats such as ancient woodland, functioning moorland, wetland and unimproved grassland habitats, and the wildlife they support.
“We need to not only protect what remains of these important habitats but also enhance, extend, and create new ones – wherever we can – right in the heart of our towns and cities and out into the rural areas. And we have seen how important being outside in nature has been for many people’s health and wellbeing during this difficult year. So, this is a real opportunity for us to start to tackle the nature crisis locally, working with our local communities, right across South Yorkshire.”
The project will also support a small new team, which will include training two young people in woodland creation and improving their career prospects with a level 4 qualification in arboriculture.
The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. The fund is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.