Those of you who were out and about at the weekend would have seen how many people were enjoying Mendip – the blossoming countryside and bustling towns and villages. The weather certainly helped bring people out of their homes to meet friends and family. I’m sure the visitor numbers were very welcome by business owners eager to recoup recent losses and survive these challenging times.
This week we have launched two new funds to support our communities in varying ways. The first is called the Communities Fund and has been launched to directly support voluntary, community, not-for-profit organisations, as well as city, town and parish councils.
These groups can apply for funding – there’s £350,000 available in total – for projects which improve community resilience and wellbeing as we recover from the pandemic. The funding is scalable so groups can apply for anything from £2,000 to £30,000.
The second fund of £50,000, also launched this week. Applications for this fund must demonstrate how they can contribute towards our climate and ecological emergency. Maybe they help reduce emissions or support our wildlife and biodiversity. Again, I can’t wait to see the project ideas for this important fund.
I always feel encouraged by the passion and knowledge of our local communities when it comes to supporting our rich ecosystems. In Westbury where I live, we have a thriving village wildlife group who organise events like village glow worm hunts and are constantly sharing photos and news of the delights of nature – there was much excitement over the weekend with reports of a white-tailed eagle (or sea eagle) being spotted, soaring over the village and Mendip Hills AONB.
Applications for both funds opened this week, on Tuesday 1st June, and will be closing on 31st August. I’m really looking forward to seeing the ideas for projects flooding in, and I believe these grass-roots projects will really have a positive impact.
In addition to these funds, we are also launching a ‘revitalisation’ grant for businesses in Mendip to help them build back after the pandemic and Brexit. There will be grants ranging between £5,000 and £20,000 for project ideas aimed at businesses who employ between five and 49 people.
The key is in the name here – revitalisation! If you are a business owner and have a great idea for how you can breathe new life into your business then make sure you apply. Perhaps you have ideas for future-proofing your business or upskilling staff? Applications open on 5th July for two weeks only – check our website for more details near the time.
Finally, I wanted to remind you to make sure your voice is heard when it comes to the re-organisation of local government in Somerset. The closing date is this week, Friday 4th June at 5pm – you just have time to vote online.
Enjoy the sunshine after what has felt like a very long winter indeed. Do get in touch with any questions, either on my email [email protected], or my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke.