Major funding boost for green jobs and nature on Dartmoor

Laura White
Laura White

Dartmoor National Park has been awarded £409,300 to kick-start green jobs and connect people to nature.

The grant funding from the Government’s £40 million second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund will be invested in a new project called Changing Lives, Nurturing Nature.

Changing Lives, Nurturing Nature brings together Dartmoor National Park Authority, the National Trust, South West Lakes Trust and Woodland Trust in a partnership aimed at creating new green job opportunities focusing on nature enhancement, conservation and connecting people to what makes Dartmoor so special.

The funding will create new paid-for trainee posts for young graduates to start their career in the environmental sector. They will benefit from working with a range of experts across all partners to gain valuable hands-on experience, knowledge and skills while working in one of the country’s most prized landscapes.

Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Chief Executive Kevin Bishop said: “Securing this grant is a significant achievement, a major boost to the partnership work that is already in place on Dartmoor and will provide much needed extra resource to support nature recovery in ways that help ‘human recovery’ from the pandemic.

‘This really is fantastic news, and we can’t wait to start work with partners on delivering this project and taking practical steps to aid nature, look after heritage and help more people connect with Dartmoor’s unique landscape in ways that benefit them and our local communities.”

Work will include conservation across many habitats including woodlands and moorland and habitats that are home to rare species such as fritillary butterflies, birds and bats.

Three new partnership Engagement Ranger posts will be created to help people enjoy the National Park, promoting our ‘leave no trace, give nature space’ ethos and reaching out to those who do not normally visit.

Paula Clarke, The National Trust’s Volunteering and Community Manager – Dartmoor, said: “We are delighted to join with partners on this project, which will provide great opportunities for young people to take their first steps in a career in nature conservation.”

South West Lakes Trust’s Environment and Engagement Director Lisa Tame commented: “We are delighted the partnership project with Dartmoor National Park, the Woodland Trust and National Trust has been selected for funding.

‘More than ever people need space where they can relax, exercise and spend time away from the pressures of everyday life. At the same time our natural world must be safeguarded for the future. To do this we must connect, engage and inspire more people to care for and play their role in protecting the great outdoors. This is our aspiration for the Changing Lives, Nurturing Nature project.”

Ross Kennerley, South West Regional Director for the Woodland Trust, said: “This project demonstrates how effective organisations can be when we come together and share our aims and ambitions. This funding enables us to see our ideas come to fruition.

‘Changing Lives, Nurturing Nature is about giving young people the much-needed opportunity to gain experience and develop skills at the start of their career. It’s also about engaging with local communities and visitors to facilitate their understanding of Dartmoor’s wildlife and enable them to support and protect this valuable environment.”

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Government’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Connecting people with nature is also a priority theme: by increasing access to nature and green spaces, projects will support both physical and mental wellbeing.

The fund was developed by Defra and its arm’s-length bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “The diverse and ambitious projects being awarded funding today will help environmental organisations employ more people to work on tree-planting, nature restoration and crucially, help more of the public to access and enjoy the outdoors. Through our £80 million fund, we are on track to support over 2,500 jobs, plant almost a million trees and increase nature recovery at a huge scale across the country, which will help us deliver against our 25 Year Environment Plan.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “From wetland restoration, to creating wildlife-rich habitat for bees, it is vital that we value, protect and rebuild our natural heritage.

This new funding will not only allow projects to carry out direct conservation, which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, but it will increase awareness of how and why we need to change our behaviours in order to protect our future.”

90 nature projects across England have been awarded grants from £68,100 to £1,950,000. Work will be carried out on over 600 sites and combined with the first round, almost a million trees will be planted, contributing towards the Government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament.

Local Life