Organisations and community groups across Essex have benefitted from a £500,000 Climate Action Challenge Fund, which has now been fully allocated.
The Climate Action Challenge Fund was launched in July 2021 and was established in response to the Essex Climate Action Commission's Net Zero: Making Essex Carbon Neutral report. The report made recommendations on how organisations, businesses, local communities and residents can work together to make Essex a net zero county by 2050.
Cllr Peter Schwier, ECC's Climate Czar, said:
"Essex County Council established the Climate Action Challenge Fund to inspire voluntary and community groups to develop projects which combat climate change.
We are delighted to have made so many climate-friendly projects possible in Essex, and thank those who have shown interest and applied for the fund."
41 groups and organisations have benefitted from funding for a wide range of projects. Please read more about these below:
Beaulieu Community Trust
Beaulieu Community Trust was awarded £5,000 to fund a programme of climate-focused events at the Beaulieu Community Centre.
Becket Keys Church of England School
Becket Keys Church of England School received £20,000 to work with Hopes Sustainability on a sustainability educational journey with pupils and to reduce energy wastage and consumption at the school through practical initiatives.
Boreham Parish Council
Boreham Parish Council received funding of £11,050 to create a large wildlife pond at Chantry Field. The field is acres of open meadow, formerly part of the Seabrook apple growing estate. It is currently unused and has been fallow for several years.
Burnham-on-Crouch Primary School
Burnham-on-Crouch Primary School received £5,000 to work with Hopes Sustainability on a sustainability educational journey with pupils and to reduce energy wastage and consumption at the school through practical initiatives.
Chelmsford Cathedral was awarded £20,000 to bring Gaia, the climate-inspired artwork, to Essex. Gaia is a replica of the Earth’s globe created from detailed NASA imagery measuring six metres in diameter. It will be suspended in the Cathedral building and provides visitors with an awe-inspiring encounter with planet earth. There will be a programme of events running alongside the artwork, encouraging people to reflect on their role in protecting and caring for Earth.
Cobnuts Cooperative mix conservation with craft activities, and they were awarded £19,997.82 to build a demonstration wildlife garden and indoor nature recovery hub.
Community Energy Colchester
Community Energy Colchester was awarded £20,000 to run a programme of home energy surveys, provide energy advice and establish a community-led insulation service in Essex.
Earls Colne Primary School
Earls Colne Primary School received £12,595.20 to create a new pond and develop a school forest school area.
Essex Book Festival
£20,000 was awarded to the Essex Book Festival for the development of the Manifesto for Essex - a platform for young people to express ideas about tackling the climate emergency via cultural activity.
Farleigh Hospice received £9,184 to install a new bike rack and three electric vehicle charging points for staff, visitors and volunteers.
Feering Parish Council
Feering Parish Council has been given £20,000 to make the community centre more energy efficient by installing solar panels on the roof.
First Chesterford Scouts
First Chesterford Scouts have received £5000 to install solar panels on the roof of their scout hut.
Great Bentley Primary School
Great Bentley Primary School received £19,220 to install SuDSPlanters. The SudsPlanters will help manage rainwater run-off from roofs, reducing surface water flooding on playgrounds and pathways across eight sites around the school.
Great Chesterford Parish Council
Great Chesterford Parish Council was awarded £7,850 to transform some disused land into a space for residents of all ages to come and enjoy. Hedgerows were planted to provide a habitat for wildlife, planters were added to grow fruit, vegetables and plants, and benches were installed for visitors' use.
Great Clacton Church of England Junior School
Great Clacton Church of England Junior School was awarded £6,774.61 to develop the school pond area. The pond will enhance the natural beauty of the school site and create an opportunity for children to learn about the natural environment.
Groundwork East is a community and environmental charity that runs after-school clubs. The award of £19,506 from the Climate Action Challenge Fund will enable Climate Crew Clubs to be run for up to 200 children at nine primary schools. Read more here.
Hadleigh & Thundersley Cricket Club
After Storm Eunice damaged Hadleigh & Thundersley Cricket's clubhouse, the decision was taken to install solar panels as part of the roof renovations. Essex County Council awarded £15,000, which paid for an impressive array of 25 solar panels and a storage battery. Residents celebrated the installation at a community eco day event in March 2023.
Harlow Town Park Volunteers
Harlow Town Park volunteers were awarded £5,000 to plant a Miyawaki forest. Saplings are planted closely together, usually three per sq metre. This mimics natural forest regeneration. Trees grow 10 times faster than conventional planting at around 1m annually. Therefore, they absorb more carbon through density and speed of growth. Native trees are used, which support local wildlife and encourage greater biodiversity.
Heathlands Church of England Primary School
Heathlands Church of England Primary School received £5,000 to work with Hopes Sustainability on a sustainability educational journey with pupils and to reduce energy wastage and consumption at the school through practical initiatives.
Hopes Sustainability is a social enterprise that delivers climate action educational programmes for schools across the UK. £19,400 from the Climate Action Challenge Fund will help give pupils a sustainability education and support schools in reducing energy wastage and consumption.
Market Field Farm
Market Field Farm was awarded £19,787.5 to employ six people to work two days each week planting trees in Essex.
Mending Matters Brightlingsea
Mending Matters Brightlingsea has been awarded £5,000 to set up a community hub to challenge throwaway and put a circular economy into practice. The community hub aims to help reduce consumption locally whilst bringing the community together.
Orpen Memorial Trust Hall
Orpen Memorial Trust Hall received £17,056 to install solar panels and a battery system. The solar panels will reduce the impact of the recent energy price increases at the hall.
Othona Community received £10,000 to host and deliver the Essex Green Weekend Festival over the May bank holiday weekend. It was the second community-led event providing opportunities for local people to better understand environmental issues and celebrate action taken to reduce carbon emissions.
PACE Manningtree has received funding from the Climate Action Challenge Fund for two projects. The first project is an E-cargo bike scheme which received £5000. The second project is the development of a booklet on how people can reduce their carbon footprint, which received funding of £2,377.27. Read more here.
In partnership with Maldon District Council, Maldon District Sense of Place, and Braxted Park Estate, Plume Academy commissioned a Climate Action Festival for approximately 600 students aged 11-13. Essex County Council awarded £20,000 for the delivery of the event. The festival engaged young people through exciting and participatory experiences to raise awareness of the climate challenge.
Prettygate Schools received £20,000 in funding from the Climate Action Challenge Fund for two projects. The first project is to rewild an area of the school grounds and the second project was to extend the new forest school area.
Rayne Village Hall
Rayne Village Hall was awarded £18,359.10 to install 30 solar panels and a 9.6 Kw battery system.
Rodings Primary School
Rodings Primary School received £5,000 to work with Hopes Sustainability on a sustainability educational journey with pupils and to reduce energy wastage and consumption at the school through practical initiatives.
Sea Change Sailing Trust
Sea Change Sailing Trust is a charity that provides opportunities for young people and vulnerable adults. They received £12,586 to fund an engineless wind-powered barge that transports cargo to and from ports in Essex. Each load takes a delivery vehicle off Essex roads and highlights the environmental benefits of using local waterways to transport low-emission coastal cargo.
Stanway Fiveways Primary School
Stanway Fiveways Primary School was awarded £2,273.48 for the development of a forest school area and sessions.
Sustainable Danbury is a community group supported by Community Energy South via a contract with Essex County Council. They have been awarded £5,000 from the Climate Action Challenge Fund to expand their activities and establish themselves within the local community.
The County Trust
The County Trust was awarded £19.999.50 to deliver a programme of engagement with children around farming and climate change. Two new Food and Farm Discovery coordinators have been hired to visit schools in areas of disadvantage across Essex and deliver sessions to partner schools in Colchester and Basildon.
The London Bus Theatre Company
The London Bus Theatre Company were awarded £11,635 to write, develop and shoot a short film on climate change aimed at 12 to 19 year olds. The film will discuss fast fashion, e-cigarette waste and the environment, air pollution on Canvey Island from road traffic emissions and the benefits of cycling and walking. The film will be shot on Canvey Island.
Trinity St Mary's C of E Primary School
Trinity St Mary's C of E Primary School received £5,000 to work with Hopes Sustainability on a sustainability educational journey with pupils and to reduce energy wastage and consumption at the school through practical initiatives.
Tollesbury Primary School
Tollesbury Primary School received £20,000 from the Climate Action Challenge Fund for efficiency upgrades to school premises. The project is a collaboration between the school and Tollesbury Climate Partnership - a community-led response to the climate emergency. The project will look at ways to significantly reduce the school’s fuel bills and carbon emissions through improvements to insulation and replacing the oil-fired heating system.
Trust Links is a charity which hosts education days to increase climate issue awareness and develop green skills. £20,000 was awarded from the Climate Action Challenge Fund to help run Eco Days - a weekly dedicated environment education, behaviour change and community engagement day.
Wild Arts were given £2,860 to fund a live performance of Essex composer Chester Tribley's powerful and emotional piece of music about climate change, entitled Restoration, at the Gaia Launch event at Chelmsford Cathedral.
Wilderness Foundation UK
The Wilderness Foundation UK received £20,000 to help young people and adults reconnect to nature, society and themselves through outdoor facilitation workshops, immersion, therapy, and mentoring. The project involves a collection of interactive workshops that will inform young people about climate change and sustainability, empowering them to make active change in their schools and local communities.
Young People's Trust for the Environment
Young People's Trust for the Environment was awarded £15,000 for Better Planet Schools. This online environmental education programme combines curriculum-linked lesson plans with instructions on setting up pupil-led practical actions and solutions to address critical environmental issues. The initiative provides online lessons, video clips and activities that enable primary schools to focus on topics like energy and climate change.