With ambitious plans to improve the environment in and around rivers all across the county including chalk streams such as the Wylye, Nadder and Avon around Salisbury, young people will spearhead the schemes.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust was just one of 22 charities to bid for funding from the Blue Influencers Scheme and is being awarded £20,000 a year for three years.
Joanna Lewis, CEO of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to have received funding via the Blue Influencers Scheme to help young people in the Trowbridge, Salisbury and Swindon areas to create deep, lasting, and meaningful connections with the natural environment and their communities via their local blue spaces.
“Through our Blue Mentor, they will learn and build skills which will help contribute to the local community and build a sense of pride by taking care of the natural world that surrounds them. Our expert Water Team will also be on hand to offer their in-depth knowledge and advice as well as delivering projects that young Blue Influencers can take part in, to help develop their passion and knowledge of river and wetland habitat conservation.”
The grant pays for the employment of a Blue Mentor whose role is to recruit young people to become Blue Influencers. Young people aged 10 to 14 years of age will create and run social action schemes to improve the environment of their schools, neighbourhoods, and communities.
The scheme worth £2.2m overall is being matched by the Ernest Cook Trust and the #iwill fund and will run for three years.
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The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £66 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
The Ernest Cook Trust is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.
Additional funds up to £5,000 will also be available for specific projects, and it will again be the Youth Advisory Board members who approve these awards.
Read more: Wylye chalk stream projects receives Landscape Recovery money
Ed Ikin, Chief Executive of The Ernest Cook Trust, said the Blue Influencers Scheme would lead the way in empowering young people to take action.
He said: “Young people are often the most passionate about the environment and are very aware of the issues we face with climate change. The Blue Influencers Scheme will give them the funding, platform, and tools they need to make positive changes to benefit their entire community.”
“We were pleased to select Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to join the Blue Influencers Scheme and are excited to see just what the young people come up with.”
For more information about The Ernest Cook Trust’s Blue Influencers Scheme visit ernestcooktrust.org.uk
For more about Wiltshire Wildlife Trust visit wiltshirewildlife.org