Businesses to support grassroots green charities through new Neighbourly platform

Businesses such as Southern Co-op, RSA Insurance, Cadent, Coca-Cola Euro-Pacific Partners, Danone and M&G will work with Neighbourly to support small charities with their environmental causes.

With corporate support, Neighbourly will launch a new Seeds of Change programme. Seeds of Change will deliver micro-grants to local tree planting and environmental activities, with an existing seed fund of around £100,000 already available.

The programme has been set up to navigate an array of challenges. Almost two-thirds of small charities in Neighbourly’s network say they need more volunteering support, so businesses will incentivise staff to take part. Additionally, it will also aim to improve access to green spaces in England.

According to the Environment Agency, only 35% of the lowest-earning households in England are currently within a ten-minute walk of a natural green space, compared with 59% of the highest-earning households. Green spaces are proven to support health and wellbeing and therefore provide key social value alongside carbon-related benefits.

Neighbourly’s chief executive Steve Butterworth said: “It’s critical to involve community causes in accelerating responses to the pressing environmental and societal challenges we face. Seeds of Change gives businesses and communities a way to come together in the lead up to COP26 and beyond – translating the enormity of the climate crisis into meaningful action at a local level.

“If we really want to build back greener and better, local action built on local insights must come first. We’re confident that Seeds of Change can help to ensure healthier, happier and thriving communities and we’re calling for any other businesses wanting to support local communities through environmental programmes to join us. To deliver big goals, we must all think local.”

Grants will be administered by the Neighbourly Foundation. Since it was launched in 2020, the Foundation has provided more than £3.6m to more than 4,800 local charities and causes which have supported an estimated 1.6 million people each week.

Southern Co-op has backed a new National Parks project aimed at rolling out restoration schemes across the UK.

The UK’s National Parks are working with global impact firm Palladium to launch the Revere project, designed to enable the restoration of natural habitats at scale. Revere aims to generate revenue by using ecosystems as a service that creates new income for farmers and landowners by improving the biodiversity of the local land.

Southern Co-op’s community lead Holly Bramble added: “We already have our own ambitious climate goals across our retail, coffee and end of life businesses but we know we can’t stop there.

“Collaboration and community-led action is essential, and we hope that Seeds of Change will empower lots of local causes to have a positive impact by greening their neighbourhoods. We’re excited to be working with Neighbourly to have a positive impact for the futures of communities across the UK.”

Matt Mace

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