This year The Channel Islands Co-operative Society will be supporting twelve local environmental causes by donating over £24,000 pounds to green projects across the Channel Islands.
The EcoFund was launched in 2008 when the Society led the way in recycling by levying a 5p charge on one-trip carrier bags, in an attempt to reduce the number used. In the first year alone bag consumption was cut by an astonishing 90%. The ongoing funds raised each year since, from the combination of bag sales, are distributed on an annual basis to worthy environmental initiatives. Each year the Society invites local projects across the islands that are helping to protect or regenerate the environment to apply for a share of the fund. The fund is now in its 6th year and since its inception the Society has paid out over £260,000.
The Society’s Chief Commercial Officer, Jim Plumley, said The Channel Islands Co-operative Society takes its responsibility to the environment very seriously.
‘We have had a fantastic response to the fund again this year and are pleased to be able to support twelve different projects across the islands. Each application is given thorough consideration and it’s great to see so many projects and initiatives that are helping to protect or regenerate the environment we live in. Obviously we cannot support every project that is submitted but we do our best to help as many as possible.’
This year, recipients in Jersey included; The National Trust for Jersey, The Birds of the Edge Partnership, Jersey Heritage, First Tower Community Association, Jersey Prison Service, Jersey Trees for Life and St Clements Parish.
The Birds on the Edge partnership have been awarded £3,500 to help restore habitats of locally endangered farmland birds.
‘We very grateful to The Co-operative for granting us the resources to carry on with the ‘Trial Farmland Scheme’. This initiative provides local farmers with a conservation seed mix that is planted after the Jersey Royal crop which turns the field into a rich foraging habitat for local and wintering birds. Many birds that will benefit from this scheme are endangered, such as the Skylark, Stonechat, Linnet, Reed Bunting and Greenfinch’ said Cristina Sellares, Birds on the Edge Project Officer.
Jersey Prison Service have been awarded £500 to buy tools to build wild bird boxes to help preserve declining wildlife populations.
‘The support provided by The Co-operative has enabled us to develop our environmental project that offers meaningful work for offenders that can be linked back to the community. We are now able to expand the project within the wider community by diversifying our bird box production into boxes that the Environment Department consider suitable for other wildlife like bats, squirrels and hedgehogs, all being made from recycled materials. We are in the process of producing 100 hedgehog homes to donate to the Hedgehog Preservation Society and are also developing links with local primary schools: already we have had a good response from several schools who have placed orders for bird boxes, bat boxes, squirrel feeders and hedgehog homes,’ said Chris Wilson of States of Jersey Prison.
Recipients in Guernsey included; Guernsey Conservation Volunteers, Living Streets LBG, Lihou Island Charitable Trust, Stopping the Extinction of Guernsey Swifts Project and The National Trust for Guernsey.
Living Streets LBG have been awarded £225 to cover printing costs to produce a series of Walk to Work leaflets aimed to encourage commuters to walk, instead of drive to work.
‘We are delighted to have been successful in our bid for funds from the Co-operative EcoFund. Our leaflet features a walk from Kings Road into town using the small back streets in order to avoid the pollution and noise of the main roads,’ said Pat Wisher, Secretary of Living Streets LBG.
Guernsey Conservation Volunteers have been awarded £1,870 to pay for the hire of skips and waste charges for work parties who are going to clean up Marias Rise reed bed.
‘We are delighted that The Co-operative have chosen to support our project which is to regenerate the Marais Rise reed bed. The funding means absolute certainty that our planned work for 2014 can take place. By undertaking work on sites such as this Guernsey Conservation volunteers are able to enhance Guernsey’s biodiversity,’ said Angela Salmon, Guernsey Conservation Volunteers’ Project Coordinator.