‘Pledge for Nature!’ project in North Devon benefits from Crowdfund Devon scheme

Doormouse in greeneryPhoto credit to Robert Wolton

Posted on: 13 November 2019

The North Devon Biosphere Foundation has reached its crowdfunding target of £10,000 for its ‘Pledge for Nature’ campaign, with help from Devon County Council.

The Council contributed over £2,000 to the project through Crowdfund Devon, a scheme that enables community groups and charities to coordinate fundraising efforts and to access additional funds for their causes.

The additional, discretionary funding, available through Crowdfund Devon, includes funds from Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police and six city, district and borough councils.

‘Pledge for Nature!’ aims to encourage public pledges of action to protect the outstanding environment, wildlife and flora of the North Devon Biosphere Reserve for future generations.

The area is recognised by UNESCO as the UK’s first modern Biosphere Reserve, but over recent years the natural environment and wildlife has been threatened by the intensity of land use, development pressures and changes in the climate.

Some wildlife is on the brink of local extinction and many species are struggling to thrive as they once did. In the last century alone 92% of the flower rich culm grassland in the area has been destroyed.

The ‘Pledge for Nature!’ project, which will be launched in January, will bring together volunteers including farmers, local businesses and community groups to pledge action to tackle key environmental issues and the recent decline in local species.

The money raised will help run campaigns to inspire over 1000 pledges to help protect and create a thriving natural environment.

The calls to action will encourage local people to pledge individual actions addressing nature conservation priorities in their area.

Their main goal is to support nature’s recovery by; planting more trees, managing farmland and hedgerows better, making gardens and public spaces more nature-friendly and improving the quality of the Taw and Torridge river systems.

There will be opportunities for group volunteering and chances to gain a wider understanding of the UNESCO Biosphere.

Dr Mike Moser, Chair of the Biosphere Nature Improvement Group who are overseeing the development of the ‘Pledge for Nature!’ project, said:“Finding the necessary funds to launch this project, seemed like a huge challenge. Our Crowdfunder demonstrated the commitment of the community and helped us to raise an amazing £11,702, from almost 200 donors, including a vital contribution from the Devon Community Chest fund. That enabled us to secure further funding, such as that provided by Devon County Council and a large grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Crowdfunding is certainly not easy, but it provides an invaluable mechanism for demonstrating community support and reaching a wider range of funding options.”

Steven Edwards, Strategic Engagement Manager for Communities, said: “The Crowdfund Devon pilot was implemented so that projects, like the North Devon Biosphere, that contribute so positively to their local community and environment could access additional funding from the wider ‘crowd’ as well as ourselves and our funding partners.

“With the help of Crowdfund Devon the Biosphere project will continue to go from strength to strength. Hopefully the extra funding provided will help them to engage with more people within the community; encouraging them to be actively involved in protecting the natural environment around them.”

For more information about Crowdfund Devon extra funding visit its Crowdfunder page.

For more information about our community grant schemes the grants available visit Devon County Council’s page explaining the different types of funding and how to access them.

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