Nearly £40million awarded to green regeneration projects in England

Group of young people standing in front of river
Cody Dock
68 inspiring projects have received grants from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund for wildlife conservation and nature restoration.

We delivered the Green Recovery Challenge Fund on behalf of Defra, in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency. It will see over 800,000 trees planted and help restore damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests.

“Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Looking after communities and connecting people with green spaces is central to the funding. 

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."

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 COVID-19 crisis.”

How will the funding help?

Grants range from £62,000 to £3.8m and include:

Restoring ancient woodlands

The Woodland Trust received £3,860,200 for the conservation and restoration of 63 ancient woodlands cross England, with a focus in Devon, Sherwood Forest and the East of England. The woodlands are vital for absorbing carbon.

The project will create jobs and develop training materials on forestry conservation for hundreds of future foresters.

Two children standing amongst nature
Protecting rivers. Credit: Action for the River Kennet

River regeneration

The charity Gasworks Dock Partnership has been awarded £1,022,500 for an ambitious program of habitat creation, clean-ups and citizen-led ecology surveys at Cody Dock on the tidal River Lea in east London. The funding will support over 20 new jobs and create hundreds of training, intern and apprenticeship opportunities.

Connecting young people to nature

A partnership led by the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) has received £2,543,600 to connect young people to nature and build a new workforce for the green recovery.

They are targeting young people from deprived areas through virtual, field and class-based learning. Working across 200 diverse nature sites, the project will include trips, citizen science and volunteering with experienced environmental tutors.

Planting tiny forests

The Conservation Education & Research Trust will receive £249,900 to help plant 12 'tiny forests' (the size of a tennis court) in urban areas across England.

Helping grey seals thrive

The UK is home to 34% of the world’s grey seals. The Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust – mainly supported by volunteers – has received £75,700 to train community citizen scientists to undertake valuable research. They will raise awareness with local residents and tourists on how to 'watch seals well'.

Seal lying amongst rocks
Grey seal pup 

Protecting chalk streams

The North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NWDAONB) has been given £401,200 to protect the River Kennet’s rare chalk streams and help them to brim with wildlife.

Reversing the decline of wildflower meadows

Plantlife has received £712,700 for its Meadow Makers project to create wildflower meadows on a large scale across England.

Close up of a wildflower meadow
Muker Meadows. Credit: Matt Pitts

Full list of funding recipients

Explore the full list of organisations that have received a Green Recovery Challenge Fund grant. 

Second round of funding to come

£40m has been awarded through this first round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. A second funding round will open for applications early next year.

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