Not for Profit

Published: July 21, 2022 | Updated: July 22, 2022

Dorset Community Foundation partners with Wessex Water to boost environmental projects

Wilding Wimborne volunteers, pictured with Wimborne Community Theatre, will be carrying out tree planting to encourage a friendlier habitat for bees, insects, small mammals and birds .
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Thirteen projects aimed at having a positive impact on the environment have received more than £16,000 worth of funding.

It’s thanks to a partnership between Dorset Community Foundation and Wessex Water.

The Wessex Water Foundation was launched in 2020.

Run in partnership with community foundations, including Dorset, it provides grants to projects across the Wessex Water region, totalling at least £500,000 per year.

Among the recipients is Wilding Wimborne, which has been awarded £1,500 to continue its work protecting and enhancing the insect population around the town.

Having persuaded Wimborne Town Council to stop using pesticides, carrying out tree and flower planting and also creating a bee trail with 11 bee homes, the group will now be creating homes for small mammals such as hedgehogs and birds, including swifts and house martins.

It will also continue its tree planting programme.

Linda Bunting, Co-founder, said: “People don’t realise how important trees are for insects.

“They probably provide the majority of their food.

“We are working with the council to plant some smaller trees by the River Stour and we are reintroducing black poplars, which used to be around here, around the rivers and in some of the large estates.”

The group is also aiming to work with young people to heighten their awareness through family activities and a photographic competition.

Linda said: “We are amazed to have been given the grant.

“We are thrilled because we can go ahead with the tree planting and make some investment into our events.

“We have been running everything on a shoestring and it will be lovely to be able to put some really decent leaflets out and some good events on to raise even more awareness.”

Other recipients include:

  • Dorset Men of the Trees in Bovington which will use some of its £1,500 grant to continue its tree-planting programme, including 1,000 saplings at a willow carr – a wetland woodland – at Lulworth. The group will also continue its My Life My Tree project with rural primary schools, pictured.
  • The Friendly Food Club will run 14 interactive cookery demonstrations in Gillingham and Shaftsbury with its £1,400 grant.
  • Grounded Community in Boscombe is to use its £1,500 grant to maintain its community gardens which provide fresh vegetables and fruit for struggling families. The grant will also fund its community compost scheme which uses food waste to produce its Rocket Compost.
  • Beaminster School has been awarded £1,500 to create a wildflower meadow, and wildlife pond, after gaining inspiration from meadows and nature reserves nearby.
  • Plush Paddock Charitable Incorporated Organisation will use its £1,500 grant to maintain and improve hedgerows and grassland at the beauty spot near Dorchester.

Grant Robson, Dorset Community Foundation Director, pictured left, said: “We’re very pleased that Wessex Water’s faith in us has led to valuable funding for 13 brilliant projects that will make a difference to the environment and bring people together in communities all over Dorset.

“This is the third year we have run this fund with Wessex Water’s generous support.

“It is really heartening for us that its continued trust in our expertise and local knowledge delivers exactly the types of applications and engagement it is looking for.”

Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s Head of Community Engagement, pictured right, added: “We are very pleased to support these wonderful projects and we are looking forward to seeing how they help to transform communities and heighten peoples’ appreciation of the natural world.

“We are delighted to be working once again with Dorset Community Foundation and are very grateful for its invaluable insight and collaboration in bringing these grants to exactly where they will have the most impact.”