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The New Forest National Park Authority has secured £1.4 million for a climate action scheme to connect young people to nature and help communities across the region tackle climate change.
The Youth for Climate and Nature scheme (YouCAN) has secured a £1.2 million Climate Action Fund grant from The National Lottery Community Fund – the largest community funder in the UK – and a further £264,000 in match funding from partners.
Aimed at 11- to 25-year-olds, the scheme will strengthen young people’s connection to nature, and deepen their understanding of what drives environmental behaviour change. It will enable them to develop nature-focused campaigns in their local communities spanning an area of 300 square miles across the New Forest, Southampton, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, covering a mix of urban, rural, coastal and freshwater habitats.
Youth-led and co-created activities will include junior ranger programmes, volunteer opportunities, habitat improvements, climate cafés, composting, food growing/waste reduction, walking and cycling in nature, and internships providing experience in green skills and jobs.
Lead partner New Forest National Park Authority will work alongside the Countryside Education Trust in Beaulieu; Freshwater Habitats Trust; The Parks Foundation in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; Southampton National Park City project; Theatre for Life, and care and support charity Alabaré to deliver the scheme over three years, starting in October 2023.
The scheme, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, aims to reach new audiences with a wide, interactive events programme, including residential stays, refugee visits, and workshops with local artists and climate scientists to develop a theatre production and community tour.
A youth advisory board will help to shape the project, while young people will be given further opportunities to have their voices heard through content creation, sound recordings and photography.
Prof. Gavin Parker, Chair of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We know our communities and young people are eager to tackle the climate and nature emergencies and there is already a great deal of activity in this area. The YouCAN scheme represents an unprecedented opportunity to secure a step-change towards sustainable living in the National Park and beyond, and this investment will give us tools, resources, knowledge and networks to move forward at pace.
‘YouCAN aligns with our National Park Partnership Plan themes of climate, nature, people and place, and the funding will allow us to develop a 10-year plan for climate action with partners so that we can continue to work together beyond the three-year scheme.’
Young people will benefit from a raft of existing experience through events, mentoring and skill sharing opportunities, as well as an early green careers network. The scheme will help them work with their own communities so a wider range of ages can take action for climate and nature together.
Helen Robinson, the New Forest National Park Authority’s Lead Education and Youth Officer, said: ‘The funding will enable us to increase the scale and reach of our existing green opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to connect to nature and take action to tackle the climate and nature emergencies. Importantly, it will empower young people, giving them new skills to take forward to help understand and protect these amazing spaces across the south.’
Melissa Eaglesfield, Deputy Director, UK Portfolio from The National Lottery Community Fund, added: ‘I am delighted that the New Forest National Park Authority is using our funding to put young people at the forefront of meaningful climate action. Thanks to National Lottery players, we are proud to help young people thrive and help communities be environmentally sustainable across the region.’
We are a charity supporting young people, homeless adults, veterans, vulnerable, and marginalised people. We help them transform their lives, providing accommodation and helping them gain the skills, confidence and opportunities to live a fulfilled life.
Countryside Education Trust:
Established in 1975, The Countryside Education Trust’s mission is to connect people with the countryside. We introduce people to the wonders of the British countryside, rural life and farming. Our expert teaching team tailors national curriculum-based modules to the needs of each school and we have great feedback from our visitors.
Freshwater Habitats Trust
Freshwater Habitats Trust’s aim is to protect freshwater life for everyone to enjoy. We deliver our conservation aims through our expert staff and our conservation, community, research and policy.
New Forest National Park Authority:
We are responsible for conserving and enhancing the New Forest and promoting understanding and enjoyment of the things that make it special. We are the local planning authority for the National Park. As well as our nature conservation and visitor information responsibilities, our services include education, recreation and archaeology.
The Parks Foundation:
As a charity, we deliver community projects and fundraise for our parks with your help.
We want to create inspirational parks that improve people’s health and wellbeing, reconnect people with nature and bring diverse communities together.
Southampton National Park City project:
The Southampton National Park City project wants to create more spaces that are safe to play in and where nature can flourish – a city where people, culture and nature work together.
Theatre for Life
Theatre for Life is an arts organisation working with marginalised groups, NHS, Solent Mind charity, educational providers & the wider community through specialist creative and health programmes.
We make theatre with the community for the community, with a strong focus on shared experiences and improved physical and mental health.
We are the largest non-statutory community funder in the UK – community is at the heart of our purpose, vision and name.
We support activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable and that will strengthen society and improve lives across the UK.
We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.
As well as responding to what communities tell us is important to them, our funding is focused on four key missions, supporting communities to:
Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, we distribute around £500 million a year through 10,000+ grants and plan to invest over £4bn of funding into communities by 2030. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £47 billion has been raised and more than 670,000 individual grants have been made across the UK – the equivalent of around 240 National Lottery grants in every UK postcode district.