Access to natural environments and wildlife is well documented as having positive benefits for people’s health and wellbeing, and never has this been more important than during the past 15 months. The Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation, is committed to improving the environment as a catalyst for change in people’s lives in the communities impacted by the construction project.
Over £167,000 has been awarded to environmental projects from the HPC Community Fund since 2017, which builds on over £370,000 that was previously awarded from the Community Impact Mitigation Fund, both of which are funded by EDF. Environmental projects supported by the Fund range from building bat boxes to redeveloping park land, enriching many local people’s lives and their communities.
Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation said: “Most people have appreciated their local environment far more over the last year and we’ve seen how spending time outside has benefitted our mental health and overall wellbeing. We’re delighted that we have been able to award these grants, which have helped bring people together and provided the space and facilities that communities have needed during the coronavirus pandemic. If you run a local community project in the area, or have an idea for one, especially if you think it will improve the local environment and have a positive impact on the quality of life for residents, please do get in touch.”
Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C said: “This support to community-based environmental initiatives is particularly important to us at Hinkley Point C. It is wonderful to see the Fund helping to protect our local habitats and green spaces whilst supporting local people to access them.”
Environmental projects that have benefitted from support from the HPC Community Fund so far are:
- Axbridge Cheddar Cycle Walkway – £5,000 (October 2019): Creation of cycle and footpath
- CPRE Somerset (Campaign to Protect Rural England) – £5,000 (June 2018): Restoration of historic signposts
- Friends of Berrow Beach – £2,650 (May 2018): Volunteer beach clean-up
- Inland Waterways Association – £2,000 (January 2019): Volunteer canal maintenance
- Magna Housing – £3,595 (October 2019): Community bird box project
- Quantock AONB – £90,000 (August 2020): Three-year conservation programme involving volunteers with health needs
- Wembdon Parkland and Community Together – £58,955 (June 2019): Re-development of local park land.
One of the groups that has been awarded a grant from the HPC Community Fund is Wembdon Parklands and Community Together (Wembdon PACT). The group was formed to make the parklands next to the Northern Distribution Road in Bridgwater more accessible for all, enhancing the health and well-being of people in the community, and encouraging the return of wildlife. A grant for almost £59,000 was awarded in 2019 to help redevelop the green space by putting in paths, planting trees and sensory borders, creating a prairie orchard, a nature trail and a picnic area.
Lorna Edwards, Chairperson at Wembdon PACT said: “We are so grateful to the HPC Community Fund for helping and supporting us. Without the funding we couldn’t have made this happen, and the grant is already making a difference to those who live in the community.”
The HPC Community Fund has been awarding grants in Somerset since 2017. To date it has awarded over £4.5 million in grants to community organisations, ranging from £200 to £370,000. The HPC Community Fund supports many groups and organisations’ projects to increase opportunity and improve the quality of life and wellbeing in communities most affected by the construction of Hinkley Point C, reaching smaller ‘grassroots’ charities as well as larger organisations.
Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.
Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.