14 Dec 2016
Catherine Miller is the Environet Manager based in Rhyl. She had a chat with Morgan Armstrong from WCVA’s Active Inclusion team, about what can be achieved environmentally with the help of a grant from the Active Inclusion Fund and whether the process is as complicated as people think.
Morgan tells us - "The Active Inclusion Fund is a great
initiative helping organisations of all types in Wales; to access
vital EU funding to help them deliver training and employment
skills to those people in our communities that need this type of
help the most".
Inclusion funding is available to the third sector in Wales to
carry out non- prescriptive project activities that help
those facing barriers to getting work related training and
qualifications. From lack of experience to a work limiting health
condition, projects can apply for funding to help these people take
steps to get them closer towards employment.
Morgan goes on to tell us about one particular group in
Denbighshire, NEWVOL (Part of Denbighshire Voluntary
Services Council) - 'I think that this will be a very relevant
example for the Environet groups, especially in demonstrating how
the fund can not only enable people to gain skills and work
experience but can also deliver environmental benefits, raise
environmental awareness and educate people in conservation and
NEWVOL applied for funding to support individuals living in rural
south Denbighshire in gaining training, qualifications and
volunteer placements. They started work in October 2015.
Project leader Isobel Smith supported participants to gain
qualifications and skills to help them become work ready. One group
supported in the process has been North East Wales Wildlife
(NEWW), where activities included clearing ponds of reeds which
were causing them to silt up and dry out, becoming uninhabitable
for the great crested newts which had been spotted there.
Participant, Mario Jones helping with the pond clearance with
Active Inclusion Performance Officer Morgan Armstrong
PAUL Furnborough, Reserves Development Manager at NEWW said the
following, in thanks to the participants of the project - "NEWW was
joined by volunteers from NEWVOL's Active Inclusion project to help
us manage our Trefnant Nature Reserve. The group tackled a dried up
pond which was overgrown with bulrush in the damp areas and
brambles around the edges; pulling up the bulrush and using loppers
and slashers to knock back the bramble. In just 2 hours we had the
patch under control again. This work will help the pond to retain
its water better, increases the structural variation and amount of
sunlight reaching the pond; and will help us survey it at night for
pond breeding great crested newts. My thanks to the group - you'd
be welcome to return anytime!"
This type of activity in a community is not only beneficial in
conserving and enhancing biodiversity but also provides community
members from hard to reach groups with the opportunity to gain
skills in conservation. Alongside specific skills in conservation -
participants also get the chance to develop key skills in time
keeping and job searching which are fundamental to their gaining of
confidence and employability.'
Active Inclusion offers participants from several target groups
including, amongst others, youth, over 54's and those with work
limiting health conditions, the opportunity to gain qualifications
in work relevant skills, access volunteer opportunities and support
in moving closer towards and into employment.
Grants from £10,000 to £400,000 are available requiring various
rates of match funding. Eligible costs include direct project costs
and staff salaries and funding can cover up to 90% of costs for
some of the lower levels of grant.
Morgan explains: "To be able to apply, groups must first complete
an eligibility questionnaire. Once accepted they will be on what is
known as the Approved Beneficiaries List and will be invited to
apply for grants when the different funding streams become
available. There will be grants available until 2019 and projects
can be funded for up to 2 years. There is more information on the
Inclusion webpages on WCVA's website.
If you have an environmental project that you think could benefit
from this funding then Environet would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. We
know EU funding can seem complex and hard to access, but we're here
to help! We're also happy to help you explore collaborative or
partnership projects that can help share the workload of grant and
project management between organisations.
In the spring time Environet will be holding
some regional events where Active Inclusion will be one area that
we'll be sharing information about. If this would be of interest to
you please email email@example.com with
the subject line 'Spring events' or fill in our short