Scout Group able heat its hall for the first time thanks to Biffa Award

The 306th Manchester Scout Group was established in 1957 and has had a presence in Manchester for nearly 60 years, during which time it has been well supported by the community.

And now, thanks to a £16,960 grant from Biffa Award, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund, the group is able to repay that support with a newly refurbished hut which includes new toilets, kitchen and, finally, heating that will enable people to use the hut in comfort for the first time ever.

As well as hosting uniformed organisations, the popular building is also home to a children’s amateur dramatics group, a football club, a slimming group, dog training sessions and a gardening club.

Jon Haves, Chair of 306th Executive Committee, said: “I must thank Biffa Award for the substantive grant they awarded us to complete our facilities. Without their generosity and commitment to the community, this refurbishment just would not have happened. Thank you very much Biffa Award for investing in our young people and investing in our community.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, said: “Sometimes a relatively small grant can make a huge difference to an organisation, like in the case of 306th Manchester Scouts. We are privileged to be able to fund the refurbishment of the building to benefit the whole community.”

100 year old roof replaced thanks to Biffa Award funding

Heath Hayes-based Community Life Church has received some major structural improvements, thanks to a £15,000 grant from Biffa Award as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

The grant has paid for a replacement roof, guttering and main entrance doors. The old roof, over a hundred years old, was badly damaged and would not have seen it though another winter.

Church minister, John Tyrell, said “We have always tried to keep the building well maintained and fully usable. The damage to the old roof would have caused severe problems in the near future. The old doors were deteriorating, but the new doors insure easier access and greater security for all users. We are grateful for Biffa Award’s grant that has ensured that building remains a useful asset for the church and the community.”

The building is used most days of the week for various church, community and social activities including a lunch club for the elderly and isolated, a children’s club, youth church, Guides, Brownies, counselling, training and study sessions.

The leader of the weekly lunch club, Sandra Tyrell, said: “The modifications make the church look so much better and the new doors greatly improve access. They are such a help for the elderly and disabled people who enjoy their weekly meal together.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager added: “It is so important that we continue to invest in community buildings like this one which provide a space for people to meet and socialise. Funding repairs to the roof will ensure that the community can continue to use the facility in comfort all year round.”

To mark the improvements, local County Councillor Phil Hewitt, re-opened the building on 23 November 2021.

£20,182 Biffa Award grant will increase space on offer to local groups at Greetham Jubilee Community Centre

Greetham Jubilee Community Centre is a popular facility at the heart of the community. Its large hall is a sports hall with no windows and there is another room for meetings and parties. The centre is so popular that it is often fully-booked and another meeting room was needed.

A £20,182 grant from Biffa Award, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund, means that windows can be installed at one end of the hall, creating a bright airy space filled with natural light. A new sliding acoustic wall means that the large hall will be able to be split into two spaces to accommodate more groups, increasing the rooms available at the centre to three. Work is currently underway.

The popular centre is currently home to various groups and clubs, including a baby sensory group, Special Needs youth group, badminton, table tennis, short mat bowls club, arts and craft sessions, community cafe and Women’s Institute, as well as being used for private functions, meetings and community activities.

The work will mean that the centre will be able to be used to its full potential in future to benefit the whole community.

Linda Edward, Greetham Jubilee Community Centre Funding Coordinator, said: “This new room will make the centre even more suitable for the needs of the community. Our busy community centre is often booked but having another room means we can always accommodate everyone and build our community to be even stronger.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, added: “It is so important that we keep investing in community buildings which provide a space for people to meet, socialise and learn new skills. It is great to have been able to fund the improvements at Greetham Jubilee Community Centre to provide a fit for purpose space for the community.”

Refurbishment project to go ahead at the Narthex thanks to £40,660 Biffa Award grant

The Cathedral of St John the Baptist (CSJB) is more than 100 years old. In 2010 the original hall underwent a significant refurbishment to create a new community hub right in the heart of Norwich.

The Narthex is a large and flexible community space which includes a community cafe, a large function room and smaller rooms available for community activities. Outside there are community gardens accessible to the public seven days a week.

Unfortunately, the toilet facilities are in desperate need of renovation. Low water pressure, a lack of ventilation, damage and the age of the toilets all contribute to the fact that many visitors avoid using them.

The work was expected to have been completed by 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and closure of the building, 90 per cent of its income was lost and CSJB was no longer able to fund the work themselves.

After making an application to Biffa Award, part of the Landfill Communities Fund, a £40,660 grant was awarded, and the toilets can now be refurbished to modern standards

Suzi Pendlebury, Project Architect, said: “Since the end of the COVID-19 lockdown, the Narthex has been inundated with the needs of the community as we come back together. Finally repairing and upgrading the toilets will make such a difference – we are so grateful to Biffa Award.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, added: “At Biffa Award we are proud to support projects like this one at the Narthex which are so integral to the life of their community, bringing people together and giving them the opportunity to share experiences.  Projects like this provide the means for a community to thrive.”

Various community groups are based at the Narthex, including a dementia cafe, parent and toddler group, networking sessions, Zumba and dance classes as well as the building being used for community events and private functions.

Charities and not-for-profit organisations situated near landfill sites could be eligible to apply for Biffa Award funding

Charities and not-for-profit organisations situated near Biffa’s Brookhurst, Cottonmount, Eye, Hartlebury, Houghton le Spring, Poplars, Redhill, Skelton Grange, Standen Heath or Westmill Landfill Sites  could be eligible for a grant of between £10,000 and £75,000 from Biffa Award.

Biffa Award’s Main Grants Scheme awards grants under three themes:

Recreation projects can range from nature trails, boardwalks and community gardens to outdoor gyms, skateparks and play parks. It generally includes projects that benefit people within their free time. This theme also includes projects in communal areas of sporting clubhouses (such as kitchen and toilet facilities) which have a wider community use in much the same way as a village hall.

Community Buildings projects improve buildings at the heart of their communities, such as village halls, community centres and church halls. They can include building refurbishments and internal works to kitchens, toilets, roofs, flooring, window, doors and heating systems.

Rebuilding Biodiversity projects safeguard or enhance habitats for a variety of plant, invertebrate and animal special. Work can include habitat improvement works, tree surgery, scrub removal, and the purchase of plants, seeds and trees. Ideally projects will have a strong element of public access or inclusion such as volunteer involvement.

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, explains: “Although we award grants under three themes, the Recreation and Rebuilding Biodiversity themes are currently underrepresented, so we are particularly keen to hear from organisations that are looking for funding under these two themes. Whether your village play area needs revamping, there is an area that could be transformed into a community garden or nature trail, or you have a plan to improve a habitat for rare species, we want to hear from you.”

Simon Rutledge, Group Externa​l Affairs & Sustainability Manager at Biffa, added: “Biffa Award provides a great opportunity for the restoration of important community hubs, serving hundreds of local residents, as well as protecting and enhancing habitats. Caring for our people and supporting our communities forms a key part of our sustainability strategy ‘Resourceful, Responsible’, so we are excited to see Biffa Award supporting as many communities as it can.”

Applicants must be a charitable or not-for-profit organisation and must own or have a long-term lease on the project site. Projects must fit into one of the three grant themes and be ready to start work if an offer of funding is made.

The overall project must cost no more than £200,000 and Biffa Award can fund up to 100% of the project’s cost up to a maximum of £75,000. Under all themes, applicants must be able to demonstrate the need for the project and value for money.

Full Guidance Notes and eligibility criteria can be found here.

To check whether your project meets the distance criteria visit the Biffa Award website and use the postcode checker on the relevant grant theme page.

New exhibition areas to be unveiled at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has secured more than £39,000 of funding through the AIM Biffa Award History Makers programme to fund a new exhibition showing how Elizabeth Gaskell’s work is still relevant in the 21st Century.

Thanks to the funding this new ‘Amazon’s of Ardwick’ project will show how the Victorian writer and her daughters influenced social and cultural change nationally and internationally.  Themes explored and discussed by Elizabeth in her novels and short stories are still relevant and under discussion today, including education and welfare for the poor, minimum wages, working conditions and the treatment of women. This exciting project will bring these stories to life through film, digital interpretation and new exhibition areas throughout the House.

Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd, House Manager at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House says: “Although lesser known today than some of her contemporaries, Elizabeth’s first novel Mary Barton, published in 1848, had a great impact on the reading public and was widely reviewed and discussed. Its subject matter, the appalling state of the poor in the Manchester area, is said to have awakened the conscience of the nation.

We also know that Elizabeth and her daughters jointly supported Lancashire cotton workers during the Cotton Famine of 1861-1865 and, as abolitionists, supported the mill workers, who at great personal sacrifice, took a principled stand by refusing to touch raw cotton picked by US slaves. Elizabeth and her daughters initiated a type of food bank to be set up for workers, sourced a fresh milk supply for children and led sewing classes for the women and girls affected.  Elizabeth Gaskell was a History Maker. Her legacy needs to be shared more widely and we hope this AIM Biffa Award funded project will help us to achieve this.”

Rachel Maidment Biffa Award Grants Manager, adds: “It is a privilege to be able to support this project telling the story of Elizabeth Gaskell, a hugely influential Victorian woman, and her family in new and exciting ways. It is amazing to think that the issues that faced women like Elizabeth in the 1800s are still relevant today in the 2000s. We can’t wait to see the new exhibition, funded through the AIM Biffa Award History Makers’ programme, when it is completed.”

The new exhibition area will be unveiled in the summer of 2022.

Scotter Celebrates Opening of New Play Area

A much-anticipated children’s play facility in Scotter is now ready for action with its official opening ceremony held on 19 July 2021, just in time for the school summer holidays to start. 

Scotter War Memorial Playing Fields Committee secured £125,000 towards a desperately needed brand new play area for the children of the parish- including £70,000 from Biffa Award. as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

It has come after years of community events, fundraising and volunteering to work out what the children of the parish would like and how much it would cost.  Many of the children who will benefit from the equipment attend the school next to the park.  They have seen the transformation over the recent months, with the removal of the tired, old equipment and the installation of the new equipment including a new toddler and junior children’s play area and a fantastic double zip line for older children.

Martin Ely, project lead said, “It’s great to see all our hard work come to fruition and to see the children enjoying themselves.  There were some additional challenges along the way – like Brexit and Covid – but we got there!  I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the people and organisations that have helped out – without their support this would not have happened and now we have a great facility in the village that’s been built to last for many years.”

Children from Scotter Pre-school, Liz Parkin Childcare and Scotter Primary School helped officially open the new play area .

Ewan, 11: “My favourite bit is the climbing frame, it’s got lots of things to do on it, I really like the monkey bars.”

Toby, 11: “It’s way better than the last play area, there are a lot more things, it’s lots of fun!

Millie, 11: “I like the bucket swing because it goes higher than the other ones! The new area is better designed as it’s not as cramped as the old one.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, added: “At Biffa Award we love supporting projects which enhance recreation facilities for children and young people, such as the transformation of this play area in Scotter. It is great to see the difference that funding has made.”

Conservation workshop at Aerospace Bristol opened by Royal visitor

The ceremonial opening of Aerospace Bristol’s  new Conservation in Action Workshop marks the completion of the 106-year-old hangar’s restoration, with museum staff and volunteers now preparing the new workshop to welcome visitors in August.

On July 15, 2021, HRH The Princess Royal visited Aerospace Bristol as the museum’s Patron and formally opened the new Conservation in Action Workshop. Biffa Award Grants Manager Rachel Maidment and board member Simon Rutledge were also in attendance.


Situated in a restored Grade II listed WWI aircraft hangar, built around 1915, the latest addition to Aerospace Bristol will allow visitors to get up-close to conservation projects – including the Bristol Freighter, Fighter and Bolingbroke – and watch as volunteers work on historic Bristol aircraft.

The project was made possible thanks to a £547,277  Biffa Award Partnership Grant through its Built Environment theme.

Visitors to the workshop will discover tools and techniques used to manufacture aircraft and get a glimpse into life inside early aircraft factories. As part of the formal opening occasion, HRH The Princess Royal stamped a clocking-in card using one of the factory time clocks, which Filton’s aircraft factory workers would have used to mark the start and end of their daily shifts.

After becoming the first person to clock-in to the new workshop, The Princess Royal was escorted on a tour by the museum’s Chair, Professor Iain Gray, who introduced Her Royal Highness to supporters, donors, conservation volunteers and members of staff. The tour included conservation projects, archive materials relating to the hangar and the history of aerospace engineering in the region, and a demonstration of the English Wheel metalworking tool.

Professor Gray said: “I am most grateful to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Patron of Aerospace Bristol, for so kindly accepting our invitation to formally open Aerospace Bristol’s exciting new Conservation in Action Workshop. This wonderful new space will not only allow our fantastic team of volunteers to undertake crucial restoration work, and share their valuable knowledge and expertise with visitors, it will also enable the museum to further enhance our award-winning learning programme, providing new learning opportunities and invaluable hands-on experience to the next generation of engineering talent.”

Rachel Maidment added: “Biffa Award is delighted to see this special project come to fruition. Since awarding funding to Aerospace Bristol through our Partnership Grants Scheme in 2018, we’ve seen this historic hangar transformed from a deteriorating, unused structure into the fit-for-purpose workshop we see today. It’s exciting to think that young people, community groups and visitors will soon have access to new learning activities, be able to engage with local heritage and even get hands-on with conservation projects, while benefitting from the expert knowledge and vital heritage skills of Aerospace Bristol’s volunteer team. It was a pleasure to be among the first visitors to see this fantastic facility in all its glory.”

Before departing the museum, Her Royal Highness spoke to the volunteers, donors and museum staff who made the new workshop possible and unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion. The plaque will be displayed on a historic time clock at the entrance to the Conservation Workshop, alongside similar clocks sponsored by museum supporters.

New kitchen for much loved memorial hall

The Thurston Village Hall Management Committee are delighted to announce that the charity has been granted a £20,000 award from Biffa Award, a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK.

The Thurston Village Hall (known as the Cavendish Hall) was built in 1914 as a memorial to Tyrell Cavendish who lost his life on the Titanic. This much loved hall was extended in 2002 but nearly 20 years on the kitchen is very tired and out of date.

Thanks to Biffa Award and support from County Councillor Penny Otton, and following a challenging year for all community buildings, a new kitchen is to be installed over the summer, providing much improved, up-to-date facilities for the benefit of both regular and one-off hirers in the rapidly growing village community.

Villagers, old and new, will be able to see the kitchen “in action” during the Thurston Big Weekend in September when the WI and the Cavendish Hall will join forces to provide refreshments.

Ian Turner, Management Committee Chairman and Trustee:

“All the dedication & hard work from our committee to secure this grant during the Covid 19 lockdown will enable us to provide much improved facilities for the benefit of the wider community.”

Vicky Pryke, WI President and Hall Trustee:

“The Thurston WI are thrilled with the grant awarded for the new kitchen refurbishment from the Biffa Award, supported by a Locality award from Suffolk County Council. Cavendish Hall has a lovely atmosphere and, with an up to date kitchen, the facilities will be welcomed by the whole community.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager:

“It is so important that we continue to invest in buildings which are at the heart of their communities. This project at Thurston Village Hall is a great example of how Biffa Award funding can help to ensure our community buildings are equipped with modern facilities that will remain fit for purpose for years to come.  We can’t wait to see the results.”

Grant to connect Greater Manchester’s mosslands

Funding awarded to connect rare fragments of peatland for wildlife, the community and to fight climate change.

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside has received £670,000 of funding from Biffa Award to protect and restore a rare fragment of peatland in Greater Manchester. Once part of Chat Moss, one of the UK’s largest lowland raised peat bogs, the site known as Rindle Moss will form a vital stepping stone for wildlife in the area, including the endangered white-faced darter dragonfly.

Habitat restoration works will be undertaken on both the newly acquired site and on Little Woolden Moss, another peatland nature reserve owned by the Trust, which sits just to the south. This crucial site in Chat Moss, which is key in Greater Manchester’s plans for nature recovery, will provide the start of a wildlife corridor for both the white-faced darter and many other species, supporting aims to create a landscape-scale nature network across the Great Manchester Wetlands.

Biffa Award is a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives by awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across England and Wales. The funding also covers the purchase of an adjoining area of agricultural land which will be transformed into an exciting paludiculture, or wetter-farming, trial.

Around 99 per cent of Chat Moss has been lost through drainage for development and agriculture, which results in large amounts of carbon being released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. In their natural wet, boggy state, peatlands are able to absorb and store carbon, locking it away in their peaty soils. However as soon as they are drained or damaged in any way this carbon gets released.

Lancashire Peatlands Initiative Project Officer, Mike Longden:

“The wetter-farming trial will re-wet the field, raising the water table to its natural level (also benefitting Rindle Moss next door), which can almost immediately halt the release of carbon. Once re-wet, a series of crops will be planted which thrive in these wetter conditions, aiming to identify financially viable and climate friendly land management options which could be adopted in the future to help us to reach net zero targets.”

And if all of that wasn’t enough, the project will also include improvements and additions to pathways and information boards on Little Woolden Moss. The aim is to engage the local community with the amazing peatland habitats on their doorsteps, maybe even encouraging them to volunteer to help plant some of the 100,000 plug plants which will be a vital part of the habitat restoration portion of the project.

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager:

“It is hugely important that Biffa Award continues to support projects that help to promote nature’s recovery, like this one at Rindle Moss which will restore and conserve vitally important peatland habitat. We are privileged to be able to support the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside’s ambitious project through our Rebuilding Biodiversity theme.”

The project has also been made possible due to funding and support from; Natural England, Wigan Council, Salford City Council, Hamilton Davies Trust and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Ginny Hinton, Area Manager for Natural England:

“I am really excited that Natural England could support this project which will restore a large area of peatland and bring more fantastic nature close to where people live. The site can make a significant contribution to capturing carbon in the fight against climate change.”

Director of Environment at Wigan Council, Paul Barton:

“This project is vital to ensure that Wigan borough’s ambitious climate goals can be achieved in providing eco-system services such as recreation, water management and carbon storage. By working together we can shape a healthier borough, support nature recovery and restore this important bog habitat in an area where it was previously a key feature of the landscape.”

Councillor Sophia Linden, Executive Support Member for Climate Change, Low Carbon and Green Agenda at Salford Council:

“Salford City Council is very pleased to support the work of Lancashire Wildlife Trust in restoring this important habitat at Little Woolden Moss. The improvements to the footpath network around the site will help people to better access and enjoy this amazing, ecologically vital landscape. Access to local greenspace is so important in improving peoples’ mental health and well-being, and this has become particularly clear in the current circumstances.”

Tony Prescott, Operations Manager at Hamilton Davies Trust:

“We are pleased to support the Lancashire Wildlife Trust with a financial contribution which enabled them to access a substantial funding pot from Biffa Award. The Mosslands Connect Project is a vital initiative which directly impacts accessibility and community engagement across Chat Moss, in turn making our local areas of Irlam, Cadishead and Rixton-with-Glazebrook, even better places to live, work and enjoy.”