Grants available through the Dyfi Biosphere
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The Welsh Assembly Government is providing funding for environmental projects through the Dyfi Biosphere initiative and the Biosphere Partnership wants people to apply for grants quickly.
Speaking at a meeting of the Dyfi Biosphere Partnership, the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jane Davidson, said the Dyfi project has the potential to provide a valuable example of how communities can live sustainably and help combat climate change.
There are 482 UNESCO Biosphere areas in the world, but the Dyfi is the only one in Wales. In Biosphere areas the local community and businesses work together to achieve UNESCO's aim to "innovate and demonstrate approaches to conservation and sustainable development at a local level".
The Dyfi Biosphere as it stands today is too small (and doesn't contain enough people) to be considered a 'modern' biosphere area. Following lengthy local consultation the Biosphere Partnership has put together an application to UNESCO for re-registration.
The Biosphere's Community Engagement Officer, Delyth Richards, explained that the Partnership didn't want to stand still while it waited for a response. "It's brilliant that we now have some money to help people actually do things," she said.
"We hope that this is only the first example of how this special status can unlock fresh opportunities. While this particular grant is aimed at environmental improvements, we want others to address economic and cultural issues".
This funding from the Assembly Government will be used for activities that help conserve nature or deal with climate change. An example of the latter might be reducing energy use, by investing in more efficient equipment.
Delyth mentioned that two schools had already applied for grants to encourage wildlife in their school grounds and to help their pupils appreciate it.
The grants available are worth between £50 and £1000 and can provide up to 100% of the costs.
Delyth emphasized that they have to be spent before the end of March 2008 and that the application form is straightforward.
Applications may come from businesses, community groups, schools or individuals, so long as the activity is in addition to any statutory responsibility.
In addition, grants may also be available for projects that contribute to the renewal of the Welsh economy through improving the local environment. Such enquiries should also go to Delyth, who is happy to go out and discuss project ideas with people.
Delyth Richards 01654 703965 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Rowland, ecodyfi Manager 01654 703965
Aled Griffiths, ecodyfi Co-Chair 078 111 66 590