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.”

Grant will enable expansion of Dunston Activity Centre

Dunston Activity Centre is a vibrant centre at the heart of the community of Dunston, offering a space for people to meet, socialise, exercise and learn new skills.

Although the centre is well used, unfortunately it has often has to turn new groups away due to a lack of available space.

Thanks to a funding from Biffa Award, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund, it can now create a third community room, opening up more opportunities for the community and accommodating new groups and activities.

As well as hosting a fully fitted gym and library, the centre is also used by a whole range of community groups including a companion group, exercise classes, martial arts groups, preschool activities, slimming groups, baby ballet and NHS cardio rehabilitation, blood donation and diabetes groups.

Edmund Nichols, Chair of Trustees:

“With the generous support of Biffa Award our local community will benefit greatly from the creation of a new community room at Dunston Activity Centre. We can now meet the demand for quality accommodation for new activities and community groups of all ages.”

Brenda Clelland, Ward Councillor for Dunston and the Teams:

“I’m absolutely delighted to hear that Biffa Award has so kindly funded the creation of a new, useful community room. The creation of this room is a much-needed increase in space available and will help Dunston Activity Centre to remain at the heart of the local community, doing what it does best – helping local people stay physically fit and healthy, and offering activities and creative opportunities to nurture and support their mental health and wellbeing. The whole community will join me in saying a big thank you to Biffa Award.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager:

“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 new community space at Dunston Activity Centre, enabling even more people to use this vital facility.”

Woodland Trust Northern Ireland branches out

The Woodland Trust Northern Ireland today has announced it has acquired new land in the Belfast Hills. Thanks to funding from Biffa Award and NIEA, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity has taken ownership of 98 hectares next to Cave Hill Country Park, with plans to conserve and restore the site. The charity plans to open the woodland to the public for free, once works are completed on site.

Northern Ireland currently has the lowest tree cover within Europe, with just 8% cover; of which 4% are native trees and 0.04% is ancient woodland. The Woodland Trust aims to create new native woodland for wildlife, people and the climate. 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 the UK.

Ian McCurley, Director of Woodland Trust Northern Ireland:

“We want to thank Biffa Award who have donated £550,000 and NIEA who have funded £50,000 allowing the Woodland Trust to purchase the land in Belfast Hills. This is an incredible investment, and we are excited about the opportunity to create a new native woodland within a short drive of the population of greater Belfast, Newtownabbey and South Antrim.
“To be able to create woodlands on this scale means more for nature, more for climate change and more for people. We need to rapidly increase tree cover to help reach net zero carbon emissions and tackle the declines in wildlife. We want to conserve the land in the Belfast Hills and restore it to a beautiful habitat for people and nature.”

Rachel Maidment: Biffa Award Grants Manager:

“Biffa Award is extremely privileged to be able to support the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland’s project to purchase 247 acres of land at Cavehill Wood to support woodland creation, improve existing habitats and create new habitats. It is hugely important that Biffa Award continues to fund projects which seek to restore, protect and enhance habitats for a wide range of wildlife. Through our Partnership Grants Scheme we are able to make significant grants to projects that introduce, conserve or protect our wildlife, paving the way for nature’s recovery on a large scale.”

The new site borders Cave Hill Country Park, which attracts over 270,000 visitors every year from Belfast and the surrounding areas and will link existing pathways through Divis and the Belfast Hills. It will also be the final piece of the jigsaw linking current Woodland Trust sites at Carnmoney Hill, Monkstown Wood and Throne Wood, providing free outdoor spaces for the local community in North Belfast, Newtownabbey, South Antrim and the greater Belfast area.

The news comes after the charity committed to planting 50 million more trees in the UK by 2025 to help tackle climate change.

Mini-beasts receive major boost

Millions of mini-beasts in South Devon are set to benefit from improvements to their nature reserve homes after local charity, Devon Wildlife Trust, secured a £41,000 grant from Biffa Award; a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

The project, which is called Helping Habitats in South Devon’s Invertebrates, is taking a local approach to a national problem: the alarming declines in insect populations. It plans to do this by improving many of the most important places where mini-beasts live, including heathlands, meadows, woodlands and freshwater streams/ponds.

A host of insect species stand to benefit. These include some of the county’s rarest species such as the high-brown fritillary butterfly, Kugelann’s green clock beetle, the narrow-headed ant and the heath-potter wasp. Countless other more common species including moths, damselflies and bumblebees will also prosper.

Eleven of Devon Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves in South Devon and Dartmoor will form the focus of extensive practical work to create better homes for insects. Highlights will include the restoration of wildflower-rich grasslands over more than 30 hectares at Emsworthy Mire, Dart Valley and Blackadon nature reserves (all on Dartmoor), and Chudleigh Knighton Heath, Bovey Heathfield, Dunsford and Wolborough Fen nature reserves (all in South Devon).

At Teigngrace Meadow nature reserve, near Bovey Tracey, 1.5 hectares of woodland will be coppiced with trees being cutback to encourage new growth, while 4.5 hectares of wildflower meadows at the Trust’s Woodah Farm will be restored. At the charity’s Little Bradley Ponds and Lower East Lounston nature reserves the water quality of ponds and streams will be improved with the installation of separate drinking facilities for grazing cattle.

The project is being overseen by Devon Wildlife Trust’s experienced nature reserve team. But local people are also set to play a crucial part with 35 volunteers set to carry out vital conservation tasks including scrub management, wildflower seed spreading and wildlife monitoring.

Matt Boydell leads Devon Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves’ team:

“Support from Biffa Award will have a really positive impact on insects and other wildlife at our nature reserves. It will help us provide the right conditions for beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, ants and others to flourish in. Together the eleven nature reserves will provide a network of sites for mini-beasts to use and move between. This kind of conservation at a landscape scale is vital if we’re to begin to see insects recover in numbers and diversity.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager:

“It is hugely important that Biffa Award continues to fund biodiversity projects like this one by Devon Wildlife Trust which seeks to help reverse the increasing decline of invertebrates at sites across South Devon and beyond. The project will not only benefit some of the county’s rarest species across more than 6 hectares of land, it will also help to pave the way for Nature’s Recovery.”

Scotter Children set to Celebrate New Play Area

Scotter War Memorial Playing Fields Committee has secured £123,000 towards a desperately needed brand new play area for the children of the parish. It has come after years of community events, fundraising and volunteering to work out what the children of the parish wanted and how much this would cost.

The play area, which was awarded funding under Biffa Award’s Recreation theme, will aim to create a new Toddler and Junior Children’s Play Area in Scotter, including a fantastic double zip line for older children.

The existing play area is over 25 years old and has made thousands of children happy throughout its life but is now ready to be replaced with new, more exciting play equipment that children of all ages will enjoy for years to come.

Scotter War Memorial Playing Fields Committee have secured £70,000 from Biffa Award; a multi-million-pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).

Members of Scotter War Memorial Playing Fields Committee have been working hard over the past 3 years: – consulting with the local parents and children, designing the new play area based on the most popular views, applying for grants and organising lockdown fundraising events such as the 2020 Scotter Scarecrow competition and the 2020 Scotter Duck Race on the River Eau.

Martin Ely from Scotter War Memorial Playing Fields:

“We are delighted to have finally secured enough money to build our new play area for generations of children to come. We really hope they all enjoy the fantastic new equipment and it brings smiles and laughter to them for years to come”.

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager:

“At times like this it is more important than ever that we continue to support projects that build our communities, like this new play area for the children of Scotter in Lincolnshire. Hopefully in the not too distant future we will be able to see children enjoying the new facilities.”

Transformation for popular village hall

Thanks to a grant of over £50,000 from Biffa Award, Boston Spa’s village hall has undergone a transformation.

The tired and dated main foyer and toilets have been totally refurbished. The foyer is now spacious and welcoming and the toilets have been modernised and now include baby changing facilities. The accessible toilet also benefits from updated facilities. We cannot wait to have an official opening and show our lovely community of users, when Government guidelines allow.

Carol Taylor, Chair Boston Spa Village Hall Management Committee:

“The Hall is at the heart of the Boston Spa community and has been in existence since the early 1900s” said C. “Due to budget limitations, the facilities had not been updated for some time, so we are really grateful to Biffa Award for their generous grant. We’re looking forward to welcoming our community back in due course.”

Terry Gaussen, Parish Councillor and local resident:

As a long time village hall user it has been really gratifying to see the completed alterations and renovations to the foyer and toilet facilities. The previously cramped main entrance to the Hall and cafe is now transformed into welcomingly open area which forms a useable extra congregating space, with the added bonus of full wheelchair

“The renewal of the old, dated female and male lavatories, was very necessary and the new layout, fixtures, fittings and decoration is so much better for all hall users, for ease of use and hygiene. The modernisation of the Accessible facilities together with ambulant, baby changing and similar provision was also much needed. So, it is great to see these improvements which are a credit to the Village Hall and will stand it in good stead in future years.”

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager:

“At Biffa Award we are proud to support projects 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.”

Habitat secured for endangered butterfly

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce that, thanks to the generous response of the public to the plight of the endangered marsh fritillary butterfly, a new project to restore this rare species can now go ahead in 2021.

An urgent appeal to raise £49,200 by the end of February, the final amount needed on top of grant funding from Biffa Award in order to secure the purchase of 44 acres of land at Upper Minety, North Wiltshire, was launched late last year. The land is earmarked to provide vital habitat for the rare, but once flourishing, Marsh fritillary butterfly and will quadruple the size of the Trust’s existing wildlife reserve at Emmett Hill.

Donations from many quarters exceeded the fundraising target ahead of schedule in February, helping to unlock £442,941 of further funding from Biffa Award, a multi-million-pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives by awarding grants to environmental projects across the UK.

This funding will enable the Trust to proceed with the purchase of the site, and this year will see the start of the changes aimed at supporting the butterfly’s long-term recovery – in particular a new management plan to seed devil’s-bit scabious, the butterfly’s chosen food source across the two adjoining sites.

Speaking on behalf of the Trust, Debbie Bentley said: 

“We are absolutely thrilled at the level of public support for this campaign. When we launched the appeal just before Christmas, we weren’t sure if we’d reach our target in these difficult times. We’re so grateful for the concern shown for this butterfly and the generous personal donations that we have received. Our thanks go out to everyone involved, particularly to Biffa Award for recognising the importance of this project”.

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager added:

“Biffa Award is extremely privileged to be able to support Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s project to purchase 44.6 acres of land to support the long-term recovery of the rare Marsh fritillary butterfly. It is hugely important that Biffa Award continues to fund projects like this which seek to restore declining species and protect and enhance the habitats that support them. Through our Partnership Grants Scheme we are able to make significant grants to projects that introduce, conserve or protect our wildlife, paving the way for nature’s recovery on a large scale.”