Local Places for Nature

A capital grant scheme intended to enable communities in Wales to restore and enhance nature.

Guidance revised January 2021

Is this the right programme for you?

  • Is your organisation looking to acquire, restore and enhance nature in Wales?
  • Will your project transform nature where people live, work and spend their leisure time?
  • Will your project take place in a peri urban or urban area, or an area of deprivation?
  • Do you require a grant up to £250,000?
  • Are you a not-for-profit organisation?

If you answered yes to these questions then the Local Places for Nature scheme is for you.

Overview

Local Places for Nature is a capital grant scheme intended to enable areas of highest deprivation, peri urban/urban communities and/or those with least access to nature in Wales to restore and enhance nature 'on your doorstep'.

This funding is primarily for projects located or servicing the needs of communities in the 50% most deprived areas.

However, if the project area falls within the 50% LEAST deprived of areas you may still be able to apply for funding, particularly if your project will increase the involvement of a wider range of people in natural heritage and/or if those affected by the project have a specific need. Please email us with brief details, including the postcode of the project site, so we can further advise.

We are offering two levels of grant: 

  1. £10,000–£100,000 for capital projects that will acquire, restore and enhance nature in areas of deprivation.
  2. £100,000-£250,000. We are offering a limited number of grants up to £250,000. We are particularly interested if your project is located in or near one of the 50% most deprived communities or if you are engaging with a specific need. Deprivation is measured using the overall deprivation measure in the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation. Please use your postcode to check your eligibility against the overall deprivation measure using the interactive map

If you are seeking a grant between £100,000 and £250,000 please e-mail natur@heritagefund.org.uk before proceeding any further with the process but please continue to read this grant criteria.

We are particularly looking for projects that can be seen 'from your doorstep'. This means where people live, work, access public services, travel and spend their leisure time. 

Funding nature is our joint priority

Nature is our oldest form of heritage. Looking after nature and helping people to understand its importance has never been more relevant. The need to aid nature’s recovery is urgent.

That’s why funding landscapes and nature is a strategic funding priority for Welsh Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Contents

What the Local Places for Nature scheme offers

  • up to one year of grant funding for nature projects worth up to £50,000. In certain circumstances we can fund up to £100,000 but please discuss this with us before applying.
  • up to 100% funding
  • funding for not-for-profit organisations (statutory and third sector) with a bank account and a constitution
  • pre-application advice (via email: natur@heritagefund.org.uk)

Timings

  • decisions within eight weeks of application
  • the grant programme will remain open until funds are exhausted
  • we encourage you to apply as soon as possible, so that you have more time to deliver your project

Requirements

  • projects must be able to maintain the asset long term
  • funding cannot be used for the running cost of organisations or routine maintenance costs of existing assets
     

The total available funding has been increased to £2.3million (update 30 July 2020) from April 2020 to March 2021. The programme is jointly funded by the Welsh Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. It’s part of Local Places for Nature, a new initiative that aims to restore and enhance nature across Wales.

Stop, Grow, Change for Environmental Growth – what we expect from projects

First Minister's commitment to the modest measures that make an impact locally

The First Minister of Wales’ manifesto commits to halt and reverse the decline in nature and to grow the environment for the benefit of future generations. 

Local Places for Nature will enable people to see improvements to the natural environment 'from their doorsteps'. This includes community-led activity and tending to everyday places that we all love.

The scope for Local Places for Nature is broad and we intend it to be locally determined. But it must include at least one of the modest measures:

  1. Increase wildflower planting
  2. Increase pollinators  
  3. Reduce the use of pesticides
  4. Change mowing practices by local authorities (and other public authorities) to encourage wildflowers and improve biodiversity
  5. Increase meadow areas on sloping land
  6. Increase local tree planting including street trees, orchards and small woodlands including tiny forests
  7. Increase community food growing opportunities including the provision of allotments 
  8. Ensure sheds on allotments are included within permitted development
  9. Improve public access to drinking water (fountains and refill stations)

The modest measures may not be the focus or reason for the project, but should be incorporated to deliver greater value and benefit.  

Projects may intend to:

Stop the decline in nature, eg

  • halt and reverse the negative impact of historic practices and restore habitat on land, in local rivers, streams and ponds and in the marine environment
  • minimise the use of pesticides, fertilisers and peat-based compost
  • reduce water pollution
  • change mowing practices
  • remove invasive and non-native species and other threats to nature
  • improve water regulation and drainage

Grow nature, eg

  • increase the number and extent of 'places for nature'
  • create wildflower meadows and places for pollinators
  • increase species abundance
  • develop resilient ecological networks, green corridors and wildlife passages
  • increase community orchards, the capacity and availability of community growing, allotments
  • encourage nature onto public sector estate – for example public buildings, public spaces, community gardens and other public assets
  • increase or create urban green spaces, street trees, urban green infrastructure and green roofs
  • increase biodiversity – for example through: helping pollinators, hedgerows, flower-rich meadows and verges, woodlands and by creating meadow areas on sloping land

Change practices, eg

  • encourage and remove barriers to 'doing the right thing’
  • change land use to promote nature, restore habitats, change the capacity of an area for flood or surface water attenuation
  • improve soil and water quality
  • increase safe access to drinking water (refill stations/water fountains)
  • improve air quality/remove pollutants
  • use green infrastructure to minimise flooding or improve water availability
  • acquire, restore and enhance nature in our towns and cities and in the marine environment

Please note that these are just a few ideas for action. We encourage projects to be innovative.

Many projects could be supported at a local level but some landscape-scale projects may be considered.

    Buying land

    We can fund projects that involve the purchase of land that is (or will be) important as local places for nature, and are at or below market value.

    The principal reasons for purchase must be a benefit for long term restoration and enhancement of nature and for creating publicly accessible green space.

    If you already manage the land and/or buildings that you want to buy, you will need to show us what extra benefits the purchase will bring.

    You will need to show that all options for entering into an appropriate management agreement with the freehold owner have been explored before seeking a grant for purchase. 

    We can help you to buy land if you demonstrate in your application form:

    • the significance to nature in a local, regional or national sense, now or once the project has been completed 
    • there is a clear need for the purchase
    • how nature will be restored and or enhanced as a result of your purchase and that at least one of the modest measures will be delivered as a result
    • any changes you make to the land will follow the 'do no harm' principle for nature
    • existing man-made structures may be included in your proposal, provide they contribute to creating a place for nature (eg through demolition or retention) 
    • you have discussed your proposal with the Local Nature Partnership 
    • the purchase will contribute to more people engaging with nature
    • the price accurately reflects the condition and value
    • you have the capacity and expertise both to undertake the land purchase and to restore and enhance nature
    • you have adequate plans and capacity for management and maintenance of a natural asset over a period of at least 10 years after project completion

    Projects involving acquisition of land must demonstrate good value for money, be well planned and demonstrate that it meets needs identified by the community. We will not support purchases that we think are above market value.

    If we award you a grant, we may require a charge on the land and/or buildings. We can fund all associated purchase costs such as agent’s fees, saleroom fees and taxes. Please ensure these are reflected in your cost table.

    If your project includes buying a heritage item, land or building, the terms of the grant will last indefinitely. If you wish to dispose of what you have bought in future, you can ask for our permission. We may claim back our grant. 

    We would need the following information about the purchase:

    • a location plan, to scale and clearly identifying the extent of the land or building to be purchased and any relevant access to the land and building
    • the current status of the land, its current environmental condition, and assessment of the impact of your plans
    • the plan to restore and enhance nature and the  expected benefit to nature of the purchase
    • one independent valuation. This should include a detailed explanation of how the assessment of the market value was reached. We welcome valuations by the District Valuer. We may also arrange for our own valuation. We will normally be prepared to support a purchase at a figure up to 10% above the top of any range in an accepted valuation 
    • evidence that the current owners are the owners (have legal title) and have the right to both sell the land and/or building and transfer the title to the new owner
    • evidence of any legal covenants, or rights (such as fishing, shooting, mineral, drainage), or long- or short-term tenancies, or rights of way or access, or any other interests which are attached to the land or building

    Preparing your application

    It’s important that you think about how your project will meet the requirements for this grant scheme. 

    Your project must: 

    • meet the requirement of being in a peri urban or urban area, an area of deprivation and/or an area with limited access to green space AND/OR significantly increase the involvement of a wider range of people in natural heritage
    • acquire, restore or enhance nature
    • deliver nature that can be seen 'from your doorstep'
    • deliver a capital asset that has a plan for future maintenance
    • have a plan for local activity, designed and led by communities
    • enable participation for a wider range of people: helping them to experience and value nature, leading to individual and community action to protect and enhance nature
    • demonstrate additional multiple benefits spanning environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing
    • understand and enhance existing biodiversity of the selected site
    • follow accepted guidance on biodiversity and biosecurity, for example using locally sourced plants, avoiding non-native invasive species, fertilisers, pesticides and the use of peat-based materials

    Welsh Language

    You must consider the Welsh language in all aspects of your work and tell us how you will promote and support the Welsh language and reflect the bilingual nature of Wales. You will need to show how you will offer bilingual provision in your project budget and plan. You should include the budget for translation under the 'Other' costs category in the project costs section of the application form. If you would like more information on how to do this, please get in touch with our Welsh language support team: cymorthcymraeg@heritagefund.org.uk 

    Acknowledgement

    You will need to acknowledge your grant as set out in National Lottery Heritage Fund and Welsh Government guidance.

    What you can spend the money on

    Capital spending is money that is spent on investment and things that will create growth in the future. Nature is our greatest asset –it underpins everything we do now and in future, as a society. Examples of capital expenditure include:

    • purchasing of native trees, shrubs and other plants to create the local place for nature
    • purchase of equipment to restore and enhance nature. Capital spend also includes training in using the machinery and purchasing fuel for use during the project
    • preparation of a site such as removing man-made structures to create places for nature, creating new (but not replacement) fencing and accessible pathways to protect nature, removing invasive species 
    • purchase of land to create places for nature and accessible green space
    • project planning, procurement and financial management of the Project costs to bring the capital asset into being up to 10% of the total fund
    • cost of labour associated with any activities related to the creation of the natural asset

    Up to a maximum of 10% of this capital grant may be used to enable project delivery. By this we mean associated project delivery costs that enable you to create the place for nature such as:

    • project planning
    • procurement materials
    • financial management of the project
    • compiling and analysing management information of project delivery

    You may not include core organisational costs (or a proportion of) such as office lease, heating, lighting, ICT, as these are your normal business running costs. You may not include the ongoing cost of maintenance, training and running costs.

    Activity costs

    You may also include costs that enable the project to involve people in delivery and meet The National Lottery Heritage Fund mandatory outcome that 'a wider range of people will be involved in heritage'. You can find more about our mandatory outcome in the detailed application guidance below.

    These costs can be up to 15% of the total grant amount applied for.

    Examples of expenditure may include:

    • events to promote the places for nature scheme to the wider community, and to celebrate community achievements
    • additional hours for an existing volunteer co-ordinator to recruit, train and support volunteers to participate in delivering the place for nature
    • volunteering good practice and expenses (in line with Wales Council for Voluntary Action guidance)
    • project promotion activity

    You can't spend the money on: 

    • Full Cost Recovery of organisation's core costs
    • maintaining existing assets
    • remedial works or replacement of existing assets that are already places for nature (for example gates, pathways)
    • works that are not primarily about enhancing or restoring nature such as visitor centres, interpretation (this is not primarily an access programme; any access arrangements must be a small part of the nature-based project as a whole)
    • a focus on tree planting; applicants should instead refer to the Community Woodland scheme. However tree planting may be included as part of a broader overall scheme.
    • Welsh Government recognises that ash dieback is a significant issue across Wales, but the Local Places for Nature programme does not have this as a focus. The fund will not be considering applications for projects solely to remove or manage ash dieback, because it does not restore, or enhance nature.

      We may consider projects which have a small element of ash dieback, as part of a wider project to restore and enhance nature. Your application will need to provide strong evidence that demonstrates a net gain to biodiversity and creation of resilient ecosystems.

    How to apply for £10,000–£100,000

    1. Visit our application portal and register an account (or log in if you have applied to The National Lottery Heritage Fund previously).
    2. From the pull-down menu choose £10,000–£100,000.
    3. Complete and submit a Project Enquiry Form, so that you can get feedback from us on your project before you complete your full application. 
    4. When you are ready, complete and submit a full application. 

    There is no dedicated Local Places for Nature capital fund application form and therefore you should follow these instructions carefully alongside our regular guidance and answer all questions in our medium (£10,000–£100,000) grant applications.

    Links to the relevant guidance and help notes can be found below. 

    How to apply for £100,000–£250,000

    1. For grants over £100,000, start by contacting the Wales office of The National Lottery Heritage Fund via email: natur@heritagefund.org.uk.
    2. You may then be advised to proceed as follows:
    3. Visit our application portal and register an account (or log in if you have applied to The National Lottery Heritage Fund previously).
    4. From the pull-down menu choose £100,000–£250,000.
    5. Complete and submit a Project Enquiry Form, so that you can get feedback from us on your project before you complete your full application.
    6. When you are ready, complete and submit a full application.

    There is no dedicated Local Places for Nature capital fund application form and therefore you should follow these instructions carefully alongside our regular guidance and answer all questions in our medium (£10,000–£250,000) grant applications.

    Links to the relevant guidance and help notes can be found below.

    Naming your project

    Start your project title with #NATUR to help us correctly identify your application. For example: #NATUR Abercynon Wildlife Flower Meadow. There is a limit of 15 words.

    Applying for grants between £10,000 and £250,000

    You will need to use this guidance alongside the application help notes to answer the questions: The application help notes appear as you complete the application form. Please note these, but also refer to this supplementary guidance.

    1st block on the application form

    Project Title         Please start your project title/name with #Natur. For example #naturTownhillnaturegroup.

    2nd block on the application form “Application”

    “Advice received in planning the project”

    Please mention all advice received. This could include advice from The Local Nature Partnership Co-ordinator, other relevant community organisations in your locality and the National Lottery Heritage Fund

    “project end date

    This date would normally be no longer than 12 months from your start date, unless a different timeframe has previously discussed with us.

    “Describe your idea”

    This is a key section in your application and should include information such as levels of deprivation, typical age ranges, levels of employment, ethnic diversity, local access to green space etc.  You should tell us why local places for nature would benefit those communities.

    If your project relates to a geographic community, please include the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation overall rating for the project address. This can be found at https://statswales.gov.wales/Catalogue/Community-Safety-and-Social-Inclusion/Welsh-Index-of-Multiple-Deprivation/WIMD-maps-2019

    Please use the bottom link (WIMD2019 interactive tool) and enter the project postcode. Please look at the percentage rating for the overall measure of deprivation at your project address. Please note this percentage in your project description.

    If your proposal involves a community of interest spanning different locations, please provide the postcode of your main project base and describe the community of interest.

    Please also tell us:

    • What is the current condition of the site?
    • How your proposal will benefit nature, in particular pollinators, their predators, the range of native wildflowers.
    • Will the proposal include nesting, feeding and roosting opportunities for bats and birds?
    • How does the proposal contribute to species and habitat diversity in the area?
    • How individuals and communities will be supported to become involved in the project
    • How the work proposed will make a tangible difference to individuals, communities and the natural environment.
    • How will you ensure any plans for the future are “owned” and delivered for the community, by the community?
    • What you will be spending the funding on (in general) There is additional space for a full budget later on in the application form.
    • How you will include the Welsh language and/or community languages within your project

    “What difference will your project make?”

    Tell us how you think the project will change individual and community attitudes and approaches to wildlife and the natural environment. Please reference back to the grant criteria, as required.

    “What will happen after the project ends”

    This is where you describe your on going maintenance plan for the site. Remember , we can not fund anything after the project ends, but you must have a credible plan for maintaining the site into the future

    “Why does this project need to happen now?”

    This fund is competitive. You will need to explain the motivating factors in making this application. What is it about the community or location that makes this the right thing to do now? For an example, are there particular development pressures on remaining pieces of open space in the area or has the community been eager to improve their local environment but lacked the knowledge or skills on how to progress?

    “How will you acknowledge your grant”

    You will also need to acknowledge that this is a Welsh Government grant and use their logo and any other branding materials that become available. You also need to acknowledge the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

    Please include details of how you intend to acknowledge these grants in printed and digital formats, websites, social media platforms using Welsh, English and relevant community languages. Any costs relating to translation may be included in your budget.

    “Does this project involve an acquisition?”

    If the answer is “yes”, you will need to include a map of the site and current valuations and/or price of the land

    “At risk”

    Read the note on this as “Is nature (habitats and species) in your local area at risk?”. We would expect this answer to be “Yes”

    “Will the project involve capital works?”

    Please detail the work and costs involved remembering that a maximum of 15% of this grant is revenue funding.

    “Heritage Designation”

    Please leave this section blank

    “Project Outcomes”

    Your project must achieve our mandatory outcome to ‘involve a wider range of people will be involved in heritage’. This is mandatory and you must score “medium” or “high” to be successful in your application.

    Please note for these grants we mean “our landscapes and nature” you should tell us how you will work with excluded and disadvantaged communities, who currently do not access Local Places for Nature funding to identify barriers and co create solutions

    Please look at our good practice guidance on inclusion, if you require further guidance.

    Performance indicators

    You will need to demonstrate how your project has benefited the environment.

    What you need to do

    • Choose the performance indicators most relevant to your project from the list below.
    • Submit your list of performance indicators (including how you will measure each one) as an attachment to your application.

    If you are successful in obtaining a grant, these performance indicators will be included in the agreed outcomes for the project.        

    Plants and animals         

    Places for nature/habitat acquired [measured in square metres]

    Places for nature/habitat restored or enhanced [measured in square metres]

    Green walls/roofs created or enhanced [measured in square metres]

    Connectivity – new green corridors/routes created/enhanced [measured in metres]

    Pollinator improvements [estimated number]

    Species abundance increase [estimated]

    Priority species [number and species planning to benefit]

    Water 

    Capacity for flood or surface water attenuation [measured in cubic metres]

    Improved water quality

    Access to water [number of refill/ water fountains]

    Air

    Estimated reduction in CO2 [measured in equivalent emissions]

    Improved air quality 


    Land        

    Reduction in use of pesticides/fertilisers [measured in %]

    Community growing [area by square metre/hectare]

    Community growing [number of projects]

    Accessible green public space created [measured in square metres]

    Accessible green public space improved [measured in square metres]

    Well-being of Future Generation Act benefits/impact

    Total number of traineeships employed on the project

    Number of SMEs based in Wales which you will contract/subcontract

    Estimated economic impact [measured in £]

    Volunteers involved [number]

    Volunteer hours contributed

    Volunteers who report an improvement in wellbeing as a result of project involvement [number of people]

    Community assets created [number]

    Employees/visitors/residents/passersby) who will be able to "see" the asset created [estimated number in one day]

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