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Funding boost for ex-offenders’ environmental work


Jul 20, 2022 #Environment

23Young ex-offenders are delivering improvements to the environment across Northumberland with the help of a funding boost from Northumbrian Water.

The company has provided a £5,000 grant to The Skill Mill, through its Branch Out environmental fund, to support the work of four young people and a supervisor through the summer.

Working with Northumberland Rivers Trust, the young people will carry out a range of activities aimed at improving the habitat around rivers, streams and other watercourses in the county.

A social enterprise, The Skill Mill was established in the North East to provide employment for young ex-offenders and the model has since been adopted in other parts of the country, creating a network of support.

Branch Out supports projects that reconnect habitats for the benefit of people and wildlife, building resilience for the region, while also benefiting water, wildlife and communities.

The Branch Out funding will help support The Skill Mill’s work in Northumberland, maintaining activities and engagement with ex-offenders through the summer.

David Parks, Managing Director at The Skill Mill, said: “We have a great relationship with Northumbrian Water, on a business level as well as on a personal level with members of the team who give their time to help.

“Funding like this grant from the Branch Out programme is vital to helping us to continue supporting young ex-offenders and, with work like this, delivering activities that benefit the environment.”

Stuart Pudney, Northumbrian Water’s Conservation and Land Manager said: “The work of The Skill Mill delivers fantastic benefits to our communities on a number of levels, improving the employment prospects of young ex-offenders now and for the future, as well as delivering activities such as the habitat work being carried out this summer.

“We are proud to work closely with The Skill Mill, including through our people using their time to get involved themselves, and we are excited to see how this funding helps deliver environmental benefits for Northumberland.”

The Skill Mill provides services which contribute to protection against environmental degradation, overfishing, climate change and pollution. Activities include planting trees and hedges to create new habitats and building fish passes to support life below water, moving back up stream.

In addition, young people have the opportunity to host guided nature walks, sharing their knowledge with members of the public.

To find out more about Branch Out, which offers funding of up to £25,000, visit https://www.nwg.co.uk/responsibility/environment/branch-out-funds/.

By NWater