A new £3.8 million grant programme from the Big Lottery Fund is now open, for communities across England to celebrate what makes their local place great in Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday year.
 
Local MP Andrew Bingham is calling on local groups and organisations of all shapes and sizes to apply for funding, between £300 and £10,000, to hold events or activities that will bring people together and celebrate what makes their local community special.

The Big Lottery Fund is putting people in the lead to come up with their own ideas on what they would like to celebrate, and what kinds of events they could host to bring all corners of their community together.

The Celebrate programme is the perfect opportunity for people to showcase and enjoy something important to their community, be it an iconic building, a precious landscape, a unique service or a community hero. There will be £5 million available in total across the UK, with £3.8 million allocated to England.

Andrew said:

"This is a fantastic opportunity for local community groups to bring residents together to celebrate what makes our area special. I'd urge groups to come up with ideas and apply for funding to help them realise those ideas."

Peter Ainsworth, UK Chair of the Big Lottery Fund said:

“Celebrate gives people the chance to come together, whether that’s to mark something important to their community like The Queen’s 90th birthday, commemorate a historic local event, or simply get to know your neighbours better. We want to celebrate what makes your local community great, so I’d encourage groups of all sizes to get in touch with us with their ideas.”

To be eligible, applicants must be part of a constituted group which has its own bank account. The Big Lottery Fund welcomes applications from voluntary or community organisations, schools and statutory bodies, particularly those who have never considered the Big Lottery Fund as a potential source of funding. Organisations are encouraged to submit their applications early to avoid disappointment as once funds have been allocated, Celebrate will close to new applications.

For more information or to apply for a Celebrate grant, visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/celebrateengland.

Local MP Andrew Bingham has this week highlighted a Woodland Trust scheme, which is offering Primary Schools across the High Peak the chance to connect with nature and improve their local area by planting trees – for free.

Children can look forward to planting a copse (small group of trees) or hedge, which can provide a wild harvest, or a burst of year round colour.

Over the next four years, Defra is supporting The Woodland Trust to offer an additional 400,000 British native trees to up to 7000 state-funded primary schools in England.   

As well as free tree packs for eligible schools, there’s help with finding somewhere else to plant if there isn’t room in school grounds; protection to help the trees grow; and on-line curriculum-linked resources to support teachers’ lesson plans.

Andrew said:

"This opportunity will help schools improve their local environment and help children to learn about nature. Trees bring enormous benefits to society and to the natural world, and this is a great way to get children really involved when learning about those benefits.”

Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of The Woodland Trust, said:

"It’s vitally important children get the chance to plant a tree. We know from our research it’s a memory they'll treasure for years to come, and often starts their relationship off with the natural world and all the benefits that brings. 

"This scheme offers schools which have found it hard in the past, a new way to plant trees, and bring an oasis of green into their community."

Schools can apply for a free tree pack by visiting www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees or by searching for 'School tree packs' on-line. The closing date for applications is September 9th 2016, with delivery of the trees in November.

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