New partnership project to help local communities protect and restore nature
The project will see local organisations supported by the UK’s largest nature charities, with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and Co-op
By Anna Wiseman
Posted: Friday, 13th October 2023 12:00 am
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Co-op has announced a new UK-wide initiative to help local, mostly urban communities stand up for nature in their neighbourhoods.
It is widely known that being close to nature and green spaces is good not only for our physical health, but also for our mental wellbeing. Three-quarters of people in the UK are worried about the state of nature yet we are in the bottom 10% of countries globally for protecting it.
The Co-op has teamed up with The National Trust, WWF and the RSPB to deliver the 'Nature Neighbourhoods Project', a direct response to calls for greater investment in ways to help communities take action to protect and renew nature at a neighbourhood level.
Nature Neighbourhoods is being funded by a £750,000 grant from The National Lottery Community Fund and £300,000 from Co-op.
Rory Crawford, Project Manager for the Nature Neighbourhoods partnership, said, "Urban nature doesn't tend to be the focus of wildlife documentaries. But most of us live in urban areas, and they present the biggest opportunity for people to access and take action for nature on a day-to-day basis."
The national charities will work closely with local organisations such as community centres, social enterprises, and volunteer food growing collectives. These community organisations will be supported to bring together local residents, businesses and decision makers, and understand what they want and need in order to create a long-term plan for nature in their neighbourhoods.
Nature Neighbourhoods will also be given access to Co-op's unique network of Member Pioneers, who bring people together to inspire and empower them to change the game. Member Pioneers work to tackle the big issues Co-op members and their communities care about, to connect and co-operate to create happy, healthy communities for everyone.
Guy Stuart, Director of Technical, Agriculture and Sustainability at Co-op said: "Our members tell us how concerned they are around the effects of the climate crisis on people and the planet. Nature restoration and the halting of biodiversity-loss forms a central part on our approach to climate action, so our partnership with Nature Neighbourhoods is a landmark moment."
The Nature Neighbourhoods initiative will support 18 community organisations across the UK to create people-powered plans for nature in their neighbourhoods.
Co-op also supports other local environmental and community projects. If you are a Co-op member you can select which local causes you would like Co-op to support in your area.
Become a Co-op member here: coop.co.uk/membership.