Applications have opened for a new £2 million Environment Challenge Fund, launched by Environment Minister Edwin Poots last month.

The £2million fund is available to not-for-profit organisations and councils to deliver natural heritage projects that support Covid-19 Recovery and Green Growth across Northern Ireland.

Grant awards of over £30,000 are on offer with the maximum amount of DAERA funding available under the competition normally being up to 85% of eligible project costs.

Improving habitats and access to them

Launching the competition, Minister Poots said: “This funding means that the environmental work of organisations, many of whom have been hit hard financially during the pandemic, can be boosted as we move towards recovery from Covid-19.

"The passion of these organisations to improve our environment has not diminished and I have seen at firsthand the levels of partnership working and volunteer enthusiasm within the sector. I have been highly impressed by the work that they do.

“The fund will help us to continue to deliver DAERA’s strategic aims and those in the Programme for Government. It enables environmental ‘Not for Profit’ organisations to:

  • Improve the condition of our habitats and species and build their resilience to climate change;
  • Support green growth and the preservation of our peatlands;
  • Improve the quality of fresh and coastal waters;
  • Enhance health and well-being through provision of access; and
  • Increase the understanding and appreciation and engagement with our environment.”

The competition includes two key areas for funding:

  • Nature Recovery: Building ecological and climate resilience; and
  • Connecting People with the Environment.

The Department is currently managing a three to four-year strategic strand of the Environment Fund and this new Environmental Challenge Competition complements that.

Further information, including guidance notes and details of how to apply, can be found on the DAERA website.

The closing date for applications is noon on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

The maximum amount of Government funding available under the competition will normally be 85% of eligible project costs, except in exceptional circumstances.