Natural Resources Wales has awarded £1.2m in grants to environment bodies as part of its commitment to deliver a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,
The money will be allocated to five organisations who care for the environment so that they are able to safely re-open and operate the land they manage as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
The grants have been awarded to the Woodland Trust, who will receive £267,762; National Trust (£229,367); Wildlife Trust (£481,740); RSPB (£194,379) and Plantlife (£26,752).
Clare Pillman, NRW Chief Executive, said:
“In response to Covid-19, we have developed a Strategic Allocated Funding Grant to support people’s connection with nature, through safe access to land owned and managed by various non-government organisations
“During the pandemic, nature has played a pivotal role in helping to boost the emotional, mental and physical health of the nation.
“The associated lockdown restrictions also meant that some of the work of these environment organisations had to be paused temporarily. We hope this cash injection will go some way to enabling them to continue their work.
“People have looked to nature to support their wellbeing in these most trying of times, and now it’s time for us to help nature.”
The announcement has been made as part of NRW’s ambition to put climate plans at the heart of Wales’ inclusive and sustainable economic recovery from the pandemic.
As part of that effort, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has asked NRW’s Chair, Sir David Henshaw to lead a coalition of experts to develop ideas that link climate action with job creation, inclusive and fair economic growth, and other development priorities.
The grant funding has been shared by NRW and Welsh Government who have contributed £600,000 each.
The grants have been welcomed by the environmental NGO sector. Rachel Sharp, Chief Executive Officer of Wildlife Trusts Wales, said:
“The great outdoors has always been important but during lockdown we all needed time outdoors. For many of us, this meant time to reconnect with nature, as people discovered local green spaces and the nature that lives there.
“Two-thirds of us live within three miles of over 200 Wildlife Trusts nature reserves. This funding from NRW will enable these sites to remain open, welcoming and accessible for everyone to enjoy. “
Justin Albert, Director for the National Trust Wales said:
“National Trust Wales is delighted to be receiving a grant from Natural Resources Wales to support the country’s green recovery. The pandemic has put the spotlight on people’s need for nature and the role we play in caring for and creating access to the spectacular landscapes in Wales, for everyone to experience and enjoy.
“This grant will enable the charity to continue, and expand, this essential work.”
NRW hopes to support other non-government environment bodies across wales as part of its green recovery initiative. A survey has been launched to gain insight into how Covid-19 has impacted on their organisation and the challenges they anticipate tackling in the future. The survey can be completed by visiting https://ymgynghori.cyfoethnaturiol.cymru/communications-cyfathrebu/engo-survey/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn. It will close on 21 September.
Clare Pillman added:
“As part of our work to support Wales’ green recovery, NRW is also keen to assist other smaller environmental groups. We’re asking these organisations to help us better understand the impact of Covid-19 has had on their work so that we can help them to thrive in the future.”