Local Places for Nature guidance

Local Places for Nature is a capital grant scheme intended to enable communities in Wales to restore and enhance nature. Updated 30 July 2020.

Nature is our greatest asset, but it is under threat. 

We are offering grants of £10,000–£50,000 (in 2020-21) for capital projects in Wales that will acquire, restore and enhance nature.

We are particularly looking for projects that can be seen "from your doorstep". This means where people live, work, access public services, travel (including roadside verges and roundabouts) and spend their leisure time (including public open spaces).

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.

The Local Places for Nature scheme will offer:

  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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

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. This is known as Stop, Grow, Change for Environmental Growth.

Environmental Growth 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 may include some, or many of, the following types of Stop, Grow, Change objectives

Stop the decline in nature

  • 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

  • increase the number and extent of  'places for nature'
  • 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

  • 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.

Preparing your application

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

Your project must: 

  • acquire, restore or enhance nature
  • deliver environmental growth 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. Enabling 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

Projects can be based anywhere in Wales as long as they are ‘local’ in their nature. However, we have a particular interest in projects that are:

  • focused in areas of deprivation
  • located in urban or peri-urban areas (rural/urban areas)

We want to hear from communities delivering projects on their "doorstep", but a small number of landscape-scale demonstrator projects up to £100,000 may be considered.

Focus on the "small things that make an impact locally"

We encourage all projects to consider adding "small things that make a difference locally". They may not be the focus or reason for the project, but may be incorporated to deliver greater value and benefit.  

All projects should try to incorporate at least one "small thing" such as:

  • increasing allotments, community growing and community orchards
  • encouraging tiny forests and street trees
  • providing water fountains and refill stations
  • creating flower-rich meadows and verges for example by: wildflower planting, creating meadow areas on sloping land and changing mowing practices
  • encouraging pollinators: joining the Bee Friendly scheme and becoming bee champions and reducing pesticides
  • using peat-free compost, using native species, avoiding non-native species and using locally sourced products where possible
  • not spreading unwanted invasive non-native species, pests and disease, and removing them whenever possible.

Welsh language

You’ll need to include provision for Welsh language within your project. Please detail this within your application form. You can include translation costs within your budget.


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:

  • preparation of a site such as fencing, clearing litter, removing invasive species or constructing accessible pathways and gates
  • purchasing of trees, shrubs and other plants to create the local place for nature
  • purchase of equipment. Capital spend also includes training in using the machinery and purchasing fuel for use during the project
  • 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
  • maintenance 
  • 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, 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 Die Back 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 Die Back, because it does not restore, or enhance nature.

    We may consider projects which have a small element of Ash Die Back, 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. For grants over £50,000, start by contacting the Wales office of The National Lottery Heritage Fund via email: natur@heritagefund.org.uk.
  2. For all other grants, visit our application portal and register an account (or log in if you have applied to The National Lottery Heritage Fund previously).
  3. From the pull-down menu choose £10,000–£100,000.
  4. Complete and submit a Project Enquiry Form, so that you can get feedback from us on your project before you complete your full application. 
  5. 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. 

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 £100,000

You will need to use this guidance alongside the application help notes to answer the questions:

Section 1

Question 1a and 1b – please use the application notes page 4 to help you answer these questions.

Question 1c – in no more than 200 words please tell us:

  • what you will do to stop, grow and make change for nature
  • who will be involved
  • what you will be spending the funding on
  • how you will include Welsh language within your project

Question 1d – refer to application help notes page 4 (provide a grid reference or postcode if you can)

Question 1e – enter your project start and finish date. 

Question 1f – write "n/a"

Question 1g – use the application notes page 5 to answer this question. Advice may have been received from your local biodiversity officer, Wildlife Trust, planning officer etc.

Question 1h – use the application notes page 5 to answer this question to tell us about the communities that you are working with

Question 1i and 1j – use application help notes page 6 to answer these questions.

Question 1k – use application help notes page 6 to answer this question. You will also need to display the Welsh Government logo.

Section 2

Q2a – provide a description of the site as it is today and how you are trying to improve it with this project. Give us factual information about the place for nature, including:

  • the size of the site in square metres or hectares
  • is it land, a green wall, a green roof or other
  • does the land involved connect existing woodland/places for nature
  • the current condition of the land
  • the features of the land
  • are there any priority species on the land. Check the list of priority species
  • why this site is important to your local area and community

Question 2b – tick "Landscapes and Nature"

Question 2c – tell us if your site has or you are trying to improve protected habitats or species for example species identified in a Biodiversity Action Plan, European protected species of plants etc

Question 2d – tick the options that apply.

Question 2e – this is a capital scheme so you will need to answer yes (please see definition on page 2). Follow the application help notes page 8 to give us more information.

Question 2f and 2g – use application help notes page 8 and 9 to answer this question.

Section 3

Use application help notes page 10 and 11 to answer all of the questions in this section.

Section 4

For this grant programme you only need to achieve the outcome ‘A wider range of people will be involved in heritage'. Please note:

  • for these grants we mean “our landscapes and nature”
  • there is a limit of 300 words for this section
  • we do not expect you to achieve any other National Lottery Heritage Fund outcomes with this project

What does the outcome mean?

There will be more people engaging with our landscapes and nature and they will be more diverse than before your project. Changes will have come about as a direct result of your project, and particularly your community engagement work and community consultation.

You will collect and analyse information about the people who engage with your natural heritage – and those who don’t – before, during and after your project.

How will you know what you have achieved?

You will be able to show that your audience profile has changed; for example, it includes people from a wider range of ages, ethnic and social backgrounds; more disabled people; or groups of people who have never engaged with your heritage before.

You will be able to show how more people, and different people, engage with our natural heritage as visitors, participants in activities, or volunteers, both during your project and once it has finished. 

If you have not engaged with the community previously, you will need to demonstrate how your project will involve a wide range of people.

Section 5

Using the application help notes pages 15-17, tell us how much it will cost to deliver your project. 

Before you begin:

Costs that we cannot fund in this grant programme:

  • Full Cost Recovery
  • statutory and/or legal responsibilities
  • recoverable VAT
  • ongoing project costs
  • costs for activity that has taken place before a grant is awarded
  • projects on private land where there is no public benefit
  • activity costs over 15% of total grant request
  • maintenance that will happen after your grant expiry date

Section 6

Use the application help notes pages 18-19 to help you answer all questions in this section.

Section 7

Use the application help notes pages 20–22 to help you identify which supporting documents are required. 

Section 8

Use the application help notes page 23 to help you answer these questions.

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]


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

Improved water quality

Access to water [number of refill/ water fountains]


Estimated reduction in CO2 [measured in equivalent emissions]

Improved air quality 


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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