New grants support nature projects

Community groups across Scotland running projects encouraging the management and enjoyment of nature can now apply for a new Community Action Grant.

Launched by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the new scheme offers grants of between £1,000 and £20,000 to support short-term projects of 12 months or less and which are focused on getting more people and communities involved in outdoor recreation, volunteering and outdoor learning.

They are also targeted at action to improve, protect and manage habitats, species and landscapes. Projects that help record valuable information about local species and natural habitats can also benefit.

Funded by the Scottish Government, SNH is responsible for Scotland’s natural heritage including its natural, genetic and scenic diversity. It also advises the government and acts as its agent in the delivery of conservation designations. Andrew Bachell, director of operations, said the first awards are expected to be made in early June.

He said: “The natural environment is Scotland’s most valuable asset. We need to look after nature as it can improve our health and quality of life, our enjoyment and even our economic prosperity.

“We’re very keen to help community groups get more involved in nature and the outdoors, either through volunteering or educational projects, or projects that help manage natural habitats and species. That’s what our Community Action Grants are all about.

“We’re expecting a lot of interest in this scheme and we’re looking forward to helping many community projects get off the ground.”

The Community Action Grant application system is now open and community groups can apply, and access grant information and advice, on SNH’s website at www.snh.gov.uk.

SNH started considering applications on Tuesday and will make a decision within 20 working days of receiving applications. The scheme will be competitive as funds are limited.