Northern Ireland has launched their first-ever Rural Community Pollinator Scheme to improve the health of bees and pollinators, with the grants wholly provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The grants are being promoted through the Live Here Love Here collaborative partnership, involving DAERA, ten local councils, Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.
The pilot scheme will provide capital grants from £3,000 to £12,000 covering 95% of costs to community groups and schools wishing to establish, enhance or develop a local community pollinator garden.
Speaking about the fund, Minister Poots stated: “In Northern Ireland, butterflies, moths, hoverflies, some beetles, flies, wasps but most importantly bees are our pollinators. They visit flowers, collecting pollen and transferring it to help plants fruit and reproduce.
“They are absolutely central to our eco-system and its diversity. Our countryside, forests and gardens would look starkly different if our pollinators didn’t work so hard to help plants, trees and seeds reproduce and flourish. They also help to provide the habitats where you can find our wildlife.
“Pollinators are vital to our food production and our economy – crops and fruits rely on them to reproduce and grow. One in three bites of food we eat is pollinated by insects.
“Sadly pollinators are in decline and we need to take urgent action. That is why I am announcing the first ever Rural Community Pollinator Scheme to help improve the health of the pollinator population.
“This scheme is part of the Northern Ireland Centenary celebrations and will create a lasting legacy for rural communities whilst at the same time creating much needed habitat. It will also open up spaces for rural communities to enjoy and share together.”
The Rural Community Pollinator Grants will support community groups and schools to:
- Increase the biodiversity value of an area by planting for pollinators.
- Transform unused spaces into valued community spaces, adding habitats and greening-up grey spaces.
- Create a positive legacy within a rural community.
- Improve the health and wellbeing of rural communities and aid biodiversity recovery by helping to improve and/or maintain the quality of community spaces.
- Increase civic pride through a programme of community engagement.
- Improve the quality of their local environment by changing behaviour to reduce the incidence of littering and dog fouling.
Applications for the Rural Community Pollinator Grants close at 12 noon on Monday 11th October 2021.
More information about the scheme and how to apply is available on the Live here love here website.