North East Connected

Last call for environmental funding bids

The deadline is rapidly approaching for applications to the current round of Northumbrian Water′s Branch Out scheme, which offers grants of up to £25,000 to projects that benefit the natural environment, wildlife and local communities.

Branch Out will be focusing its support on projects that help to improve the water environment, or schemes such as the Queen’s Green Canopy project which invites people to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee” within the North East, and applications are welcomed from organisations, community groups and individuals from the public, private, voluntary and education sectors.

The deadline for the current round of funding is 31 August 2022.

Since launching in 2013, the original Branch Out fund has awarded grants worth more than £600,000 across over 140 different projects. In 2020 the water company launched two more schemes as part of Branch Out which support Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) and Priority Habitats.

Judging for the most recent round of Branch Out funding took place in March 2022, with around £17,000 of funding being allocated across four new projects. Including Darlington Forest Project and The Skill Mill in Northumberland.

Stuart Pudney, Conservation and Land Manager for Northumbrian Water, said: “A healthy natural environment is essential for us to supply top quality drinking water. Since launching in 2013 Branch Out has made a really significant contribution to helping this region build resilience and adapt to the changing climate, whilst benefiting water, wildlife and local communities.

“We are now accepting applications for the current round of funding, and with grants from £1 to £25,000 available, we encourage organisations, groups and individuals to get their bids in to us by the end of August 2022.”

Projects can also be supported by ‘Just an Hour’, Northumbrian Water’s employee volunteering programme.

The Skill Mill made a successful bid for the company’s most recent Branch Out funding to support the work of four young people and a supervisor in Northumberland, maintaining activities and engagement with ex-offenders through the summer, receiving a grant of £5,000.

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.”

Full details on how to apply are available at All applications will be carefully considered and judged against set criteria. Decisions for applications received by 31 August 2022 will be provided by 30 September 2022.

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