The Bristol Green Capital Partnership has launched a £45,000 fund to help turn ideas for environmental and sustainability projects into reality.
This builds upon a long tradition of grassroots solutions to environmental challenges in the city, which led it to being awarded the title of European Green Capital back in 2015.
The fund is open to community groups, charities, social enterprises and small businesses based in Bristol who have a project that aims to tackle environmental challenges at a community level.
Projects could include anything from local food-growing, community energy, re-use or cleaner streets campaigns to sustainable travel, community resilience, wildlife and green space initiatives. But anyone who wants to apply is going to have to move quickly.
The initial call for entries closes on the 25th April - there is a simple online form where you can submit your project idea in up to 150 words. Projects that fit the criteria for the project will then benefit from free training and support over the following month to help build a crowdfunding project ready to launch on 1 June 2017. Once they’ve launched, projects will need to achieve wider backing ‘from the crowd’ by crowdfunding for the first 50% of their overall target. The successful projects will receive match-funding grants of between £3,000 and £4,000 until the fund runs out.
Business West and in particular the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and West of England Initiative have long championed the need for sustainability to be embedded across the whole region. Prior to Bristol Green Capital Partnership being founded in 2007, the then Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative, John Savage Chaired the Bristol Environment and Energy Trust; later on from2014 - 2015 I was the elected Vice-Chair of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership.
During Bristol 2015 - the Green Capital Year - Business West was a Strategic partner of Bristol 2015 Ltd and most recently Business West is a Strategic Partner of Bristol Green Capital Partnership community interest company with our Vice-President, David Mellor having a seat on the board.
In strategic terms, sustainability is core to our long term vision, which is articulated in the ‘2050 High in Hope’ action plan. We are also represented on the panels for the Joint Transport Study and Strategic Joint Transport Plan which seeks to ensure adequate housing and transport infrastructure to meet future demands.
We are a champion of a number of completed and ongoing, large-scale sustainability projects, such as efforts to improve public transport through the Metro Bus and Metro West schemes that better connect the more disadvantaged parts of the city and reduce the need for car journeys. We are directly helping businesses to adopt more sustainable business practices through the Go Green scheme with our partners Low Carbon South West. Since starting during the European Green Capital Year, businesses have had access to the Go Green tool to develop their own Go Green Action Plans to improve their sustainability credentials, with over 100 events and workshops to help inspire businesses to make positive changes.
To date, more that 1500 businesses have accessed the programme.
Through our Charitable Trust, we have ensured that business plays an active role in society. My Future My Choice worked with over 5000 children last year and 100 business volunteers to use the harbour and landscape to inspire young people to take an interest in STEM subjects, while 91 Ways created a Peace Café series to celebrate cultural diversity in the city.
The #BetterBristol match-funding grants offer an opportunity for the city to begin and build on existing projects that make a difference to sustainability in its very widest sense. A recent initiative to fund sustainability projects was during Bristol’s year as the European Green Capital, where a total of 133 projects were funded through the Bristol 2015 Ltd grant scheme. The projects awarded funding included: buying groups, fish farming in disused buildings, bike swaps, new walking routes and the transformation of derelict land into an orchard.
The demand across the city for these grants was enormous – I have no doubt that the competition for the #BetterBristol match-funding grants will be high and will also result in a fantastic range of projects.
For more information on the grants, please visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/better-bristol-2017.