As applications open for the Co-op Community Fund spring payments, two previous beneficiaries explain how the money has enhanced their eco projects
THE Co-op Community Fund provides extra help to charities, causes and community groups, helping them to continue their invaluable work in our islands’ communities.
- The fund is open to community, charity or eco projects in these key areas:
- Preserving the local environment.
- Social inclusion and accessibility.
- Equality and diversity.
- Supporting the ageing population.
- Inspiring the next generation and education.
- Supporting local and Fairtrade.
- Health and wellbeing.
It is important that projects benefit our local community, and applicants must be based in the Channel Islands.
The spring application deadline for the next round of funding is 30 April 2023.
Over £80,000 was donated in 2022 to 74 causes in Jersey and Guernsey.
ECO PROJECT CASE STUDIES
Case study 1: Nature Base: Sophie Moulson, outdoor practitioner and Forest School lead
Pop-up Nature Play in the Park: To run free ‘pop-up’ nature play/Forest School sessions in Millbrook Park woodland enabling families to cultivate positive nature connection, holistic wellbeing and healthy child development. Funding will be used for the Forest School explorer pack, a resource planning pack supporting exploration and imaginative outdoor play with social and communication skills.
Amount donated: £2,238.
What inspired you to create pop-up nature-based events?
Sophie: A very long time ago, I watched a television show called Secret Millionaire, in which he visited a group which was running pop-up community gardening sessions on various estates, working with the council to use the little areas of green space. I really loved this idea and I still do.
The idea of pop-up came from there and we hope to pop up in various places to make accessing nature play and Forest School easier. The vision for using the woodland at Coronation Park came from the launch event of the Government of Jersey’s 50 Things To Do app and Children’s Day.
I was involved in both of these and heard many parents talking about the benefits of attending events like these for free. I knew I wanted to run sessions in the woodland and that they would have to be free so that people could walk over and join in easily, so I met with Parks and Gardens to share the vision and then applied to the Co-operative Community Fund to see if I could get some funding. We hope to find more longer-term funding to continue these sessions for free.
How have the sessions been received in the community?
Sophie: I had set a limit on numbers and allowed for walkovers from people in the park. Very quickly I increased the numbers due to demand, something I had to do again and again, trying to accommodate as many children and their parents/grandparents/carers as we could.
With 40 tickets going every week – and more than 70 children and their families joining us on Valentine’s Day – it’s safe to say the sessions have been a real hit. As you look around the group, you see the adults sitting on the logs having the time to just be, and of course coming alongside their little one and playing.
Grandparents come along while they are looking after their grandchildren and absolute love being outdoors. It is a very special time. People who use the park have also been really interested in what we are doing and so supportive.
What does the future hold for Nature Base?
Sophie: I am currently running a range of wellbeing and nature play sessions for ages from babies through to primary-school pupils, young people and parents/carers. Nature Base is really growing and I am very much reflecting on the feedback and what the demands are, listening and observing the children and families to continue to shape what is on offer in the future.
How has the Co-op Community Fund helped Nature Base?
Sophie: It has been amazing, as it gave us the funding to step out and try something new. This has supported children’s early development in a range of ways. It has been especially well received by families whose children have additional needs like ADHD or autism. The sessions have supported overall family wellbeing, offering times of fun and connection for them with one another and, of course, with nature, while helping them to appreciate our Island’s natural beauty in the park.
It’s created a sense of community really quickly, with many families staying around to sit and chat and have food together (even in the cold windy winter) and then going on to have a play on the park equipment. It has been received and gone better than expected, so I am very thankful for the support and so are the families attending.
Case study 2: Plastic Free Jersey: Sheena Brockie
With funding from the Co-op Community Fund, Plastic Free Jersey has created 12 Community Beach Clean Boxes, with one being gifted to every parish.
What inspired you to create the Community Beach Clean Boxes?
Sheena: As a regular walker, I often see litter when I am out walking and I pick it up along the way. Much of the litter we find on the beaches in Jersey comes from litter lost on the streets, which gets washed down the nearest drain when it rains, and out to sea – to land back on our beaches.
Plastic Free Jersey wasg iven a beach-clean box by Surfers Against Sewage many years ago, which we use for organised beach cleans, but we can’t run them every day. I wanted to find a way of empowering as many people as possible to get out there and help keep Jersey beautiful – and this was the idea that came to mind.
How are the boxes accessed?
Sheena: Whether you are an individual, family, business, school or community group – it doesn’t matter who you are, or what you represent – the beach-clean boxes are available for the whole community to use. The parish halls are managing the process, so please call or email them directly to make the request.
Each beach-clean box holds four buckets, three recycled tubs, hand sanitiser, first-aid kit, sharps box and 20 pairs of gloves in various sizes from small to extra-large.
How else can Islanders get involved with Plastic Free Jersey?
Sheena: Another project we are working on right now is #Refilljersey as part of the #refillrevolution.
Plastic Free Jersey and Jersey Water have launched the Refill app in Jersey. Refill is an award-winning campaign from City to Sea to help people live with less plastic. Anyone can download the free app to tap into a global network of places to reduce, reuse and refill. From identifying free tap-water refills to places where you can take your reusable cup when buying a hot drink, lunch on the go and even plastic-free shopping Refill puts the power to go packaging-free at your fingertips.
If you are an individual, please do download the app from refill.org.uk. Businesses can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you set up on the app (it’s free and easy) and we’ll deliver posters and stickers to you to help promote the campaign. The app can be used globally – last year I used it in both Paris and Rome – so it is worth downloading for home and holiday use.
We are also excited to talk about our Potty Eco Pots and Reuse mugs campaign under which cafés are stocking gifted, reusable mugs that people can take instead of buying a single-use cup. Find out more at facebook.com/pottyecopots.
How has the Coop’s Community Fund helped Plastic Free Jersey?
Sheena: Plastic Free Jersey is a not-for-profit business whose only income comes from working with businesses such as Co-op and Jersey Water on specific projects. The external support means that we can have a much bigger impact and reach many more people, and we are grateful to be in a position to do that.