Mersey community groups scoop £115,000 from environment fund

TWELVE community groups from Merseyside and Halton have received a funding boost to help make the region a cleaner and greener place.The financial support will see the groups help reduce household waste, encourage recycling and resource re-use, and prevent carbon emissions.The £115,000 is coming from the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and Veolia Community Fund 2017/18, which has been running annually since 2006.Some of the projects funded include:– creating a sensory learning garden from re-used materials in St Helens– the development of a shop in Wirral to sell used clothes– the repair and re-use of unused furniture for redistribution to the local community in Halton– cookery skills clubs to help reduce food waste across Merseyside and Halton– bicycle repair and re-use in Knowsley– timber waste re-use at a local community farm in Liverpool– improving online retail skills for a charity shop in SeftonSuccessful applicants have been awarded up to £25,000 for schemes which operate across Merseyside and Halton, and up to £8,000 for projects which work solely at local authority level.Graham Morgan, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “These projects can have a significant impact on their local community and make Merseyside and Halton a cleaner and greener place for us all to live and work. Giving groups the opportunity to get involved in looking after their environment can only bring benefits to all and can help us appreciate items as valuable resources rather than something which otherwise might be just thrown away.“The projects really seem to understand the importance of resource efficiency and community education. We’re really looking forward to seeing what they achieve.”The Children’s Food Trust is one organisation to have previously benefitted from the Community Fund. Head of Cookery at the Trust, Maggie Sims, said: “We at The Children’s Food Trust are extremely grateful for the support our projects have received from the Community Fund. Food waste is something we are extremely passionate about tackling. We are working to reduce avoidable household food waste and to enable families to save money and the Community Fund has enabled us to do this.“Thanks to previous funding we have trained 50 Merseyside and Halton leaders to run cookery clubs for families and communities reaching at least 2,500 children and adults. The club leaders have helped to educate about food waste and have increased cooking skills and in turn the fund is helping to create healthier lifestyles and environments for children as they grow up.”Projects have until March 2018 to deliver their schemes.The impact of the 2015/16 Fund saw 10 projects deliver 71 full time equivalent jobs (created or safeguarded), participation by 253 volunteers, 24,256 people directly engaged, 680 tonnes of waste material diverted from landfill and £68,000 of equivalent landfill costs avoided. Projects included refurbishing old bicycles, providing young adults with cookery skills, delivering workshops on textiles and clothes repair and training people to make attractive furniture from waste.