Woodland charity scoops £250k from new government green recovery fund

The Green Light Trust is expanding into Norfolk thanks to a government grant

The Suffolk environmental charity Green Light Trust has taken on the management of the woodland around the former Park and Ride site at Martlesham. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

An environmental education charity based in Suffolk has become one of the first to be awarded a new grant created by government to kickstart a “green” recovery.

The Green Light Trust, based at Lawshall, Bury St Edmunds, has scooped a hefty £249,748 in the first £40m funding round for the Green Recovery Challenge Fund which will allow it to develop new services for Norfolk residents.

It’s one of 68 projects around the country to gain grants of between of £62k and £3.8m which have been announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The Suffolk environmental charity Green Light Trust has taken on the management of the woodland arou

The Green Light Trust has been given a major boost to help it expand into Norfolk - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Charity chief executive Tom Brown expressed delight at the award. The grant would allow the charity — which currently delivers most of its services in Suffolk — to develop new services over the border, he added. 

“In partnership with organisations such as the RSPB and National Trust, we will be working with the individuals we support to help conserve and develop areas of woodland in Norfolk,” he said. 

“Our ‘Inclusive Conservation’ project supports our vision to ensure that everyone has equitable access to the power of nature, so we will also be looking at ways we can engage more closely with communities who are not widely represented in our current participant groups, such as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.”

“We are delighted to be part of this government green initiative and grateful for this grant, which will allow the charity to significantly broaden its reach.”

The trust supports more than 1800 disadvantaged and marginalised adults and children each year. 
By engaging them in conservation and other activities in the natural environment, the charity tries improve their wellbeing and increase confidence and social interaction. The aim is to help them overcome the barriers they face and teach them work-based and life skills.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key plank of prime minister Boris Johnson’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. It is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus.

“I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”

Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now. All these projects are of huge benefit to our beautiful countryside and wildlife, but will also support jobs, health and wellbeing, which are vitally important as we begin to emerge from the coronavirus crisis.”