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Norton Sports Charity has been awarded a grant of £156,400 from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund!

  • Norton Pockets of Nature Partnership is a multi-partner nature project lasting through until March 2023 which will significantly improve several locations within the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees in North-East England. The sites included within the project are our community forest at Norton Sports Complex, Norton Grange Local Nature Reserve, Harbron Woods, Mount Pleasant, St, Mary’s Church and St. Michael’s Church. In addition to the environmental benefits, and in association with Groundwork North-East and Cumbria, it will also provide employment opportunities for 12 young people.
  • 90 projects awarded grants to accelerate the implementation of nature-based projects, from new ‘insect pathways’ in our countryside and towns, to tree planting projects in deprived urban areas.
  • Second funding round of Green Recovery Challenge Fund backed by £40 million, with over 1,000 jobs to be created or retained in England.

Norton Sports Charity being the lead organisation for the Norton Pockets of Nature Partnership (NPNP) project has been awarded a grant from the Government’s £40 million second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a multi-million pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery Ninety nature projects across England have been awarded grants from £68,100 to £1,950,000 to create and retain over 1,000 green jobs, backed by the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

Work will be carried out on over 600 sites from North Northumberland to the tip of Cornwall, and combined with the first round, almost a million trees will be planted, contributing towards the Government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament.

The NPNP project will bring together landowners and community groups to create a network of nature reserves, wildlife corridors, woodland and green spaces throughout Norton. It will enhance biodiversity and increase access to nature. Partners for the project in addition to Norton Sports Charity are Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, the Church of England Parishes of St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s, Thirteen Housing Group, Groundwork North-East and Cumbria and Catalyst Stockton. Within a total project budget of £280,000 which includes a contribution of £123,500 from the Youth Employment Initiative, it will also provide direct employment opportunities for 12 young people and secure three further jobs.

Project Director and Outreach Manager for Norton Sports Charity Dr. Carole Frost said ‘’We are thrilled to receive this grant which will significantly increase biodiversity and hence the resilience of the local Norton environment. The fact that the project will also provide new employment opportunities together with vital training to help delivery of future environmental projects is also extremely important.’’

Bill Pickersgill (President of Norton Sports Charity) added ‘’Having been part of the local community since the late 19th Century, we are absolutely delighted to be working with our partners on a project which spans the whole of Norton. There will be significant benefit to many members of the local community for many years to come. I would like to express my thanks to Dr Carole Frost and Lucy Chapman of Groundwork for instigating this initiative and for their work in compiling the bid. We are hugely grateful to the Green Recovery Challenge Fund for the grant and to our partners for their contributions and support for the project’’.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Connecting people with nature is another priority theme: by increasing access to nature and greenspaces, projects will support both physical and mental wellbeing. The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

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#TogetherForOurPlanet

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “The diverse and ambitious projects being awarded funding today will help environmental organisations employ more people to work on tree-planting, nature restoration and crucially, help more of the public to access and enjoy the outdoors.
“Through our £80 million Fund, we are on track to support over 2,500 jobs, plant almost a million trees and increase nature recovery at a huge scale across the country, which will help us deliver against our 25 Year Environment Plan.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “From wetland restoration, to creating wildlife-rich habitat for bees, it is vital that we value, protect and rebuild our natural heritage. This new funding will not only allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, but it will increase awareness of how and why we need to change our behaviours in order to protect our future.”

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “By supporting jobs from Northumberland to Somerset, the Green Recovery Challenge Fund will help deliver a nature positive future. The fund supports young people to develop skills needed to protect nature, build back greener and prepare for climate impacts, like floods and heatwaves.”

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said: “Our environmental and conservation charity sector does an incredible job in protecting, improving and restoring the natural environment for the benefit of communities and the economy.”

Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley said: “This funding will help deliver thousands more trees and help us achieve our target of trebling tree planting rates in England by the end of the Parliament. We need to work towards net zero emissions by 2050; to address biodiversity loss; to better connect people with nature; and to create more green jobs in doing so. Trees are central to
this and the projects being awarded these grants will have a hugely important role in helping us realise these objectives.”

A full list of awards is available to view at: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/publications/green-recovery-challenge-fund-secondround-decisions-july-2021