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Blue Heart Community Fund recipients 2023

We’re delighted to announce our successful Community Fund recipients!

Individuals and groups (both formal and informal) across Eastbourne and southern Wealden were invited to apply. Their applications needed to meet specific criteria, including activities that:

Deserving recipients included: Eastbourne Food Partnership, awarded £5,000 to investigate growing food in a changing climate and Treebourne who received £5,000 to plant trees and wildflowers at Ocklynge School.

The Community Fund will support six projects this year, with a total payout of £22,300. Following this, in Spring 2024, another round of funding for larger amounts up to £5,000 will be available. But small grants of up to £500 are available all year round.

One of the fund’s aims is to start conversations with groups who might not often engage with flooding and climate change. This leads to increased understanding of flood risk, while investing in community-based action, learning and resilience.

Individuals or groups wanting to discuss potential projects can contact Eleanor Lanyon at contact@blueheart.org.uk  or by calling 07936 440074.

Grants Awarded

OrganisationReceived For 
Plastic Free Eastbourne £3,500A water refill station to add to their network, encouraging people to refill water bottles rather than buying single-use plastic ones.
Sussex Young Authors Clubs£500Trialling creative writing workshops around water and climate change for young people.
Eastbourne Food Partnership £5,000Growing in a changing climate project.
Treebourne£5,000Supporting biodiversity at Ocklynge School through planting trees and wildflowers.
Watercycle£5,000Watercycle: a mobile engagement hub (a bespoke ‘watercycle’ trailer, pulled by an electric bike). Used for exploring water with different audiences in diverse locations.
Eastbourne Allotments and Garden Society£3,300Raised beds to support involvement by people with mobility issues and including older growers.

UPDATE: Pevensey and Westham Forest Garden have been awarded a grant of £500 to fund three family workshops exploring Suburban Forest Gardens (April 2024), Foraging & Storage (July 2024) and Film & Food (September 2024). Keep a look out on their social media and ours for more details.

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In Detail

Sussex Young Authors Clubs (YAC) – creative writing workshops for young people, focussing on water

Sussex Young Authors Clubs (YAC) are fun, inclusive writing clubs created by Sussex based writer, Amanda Smith in 2010. 

“My writing clubs are about sparking the imagination and boosting self esteem through creative writing. I’m convinced everyone can enjoy writing if given the confidence, time and space to do so – and biscuits! There must always be biscuits!  

I have loved stories for as long as I can remember, particularly stories that take place in nature with fairies and magic. The natural world is an unlimited source of story magic and we can use our writing to raise awareness and help protect nature from climate change. 

My Blue Heart grant will allow me to offer two free writing workshops to children aged 9-13/13-16 in the Eastbourne area. We will be looking at the theme of water and producing poems which will be displayed on their Facebook page and across media platforms. It’s a great opportunity for aspiring writers. So please get in touch if your young writer would like to take part.”

Amanda Smith, Founder of Sussex Young Authors Clubs.
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Eastbourne Food Partnership – Growing in a changing climate project (£5,000)

Eastbourne Food Partnership is an organisation providing a platform for different stakeholders to bring sustainable local food systems in Eastbourne. We believe everyone in Eastbourne should have access to sustainably produced and nutritious food. And participate in a vibrant and joyful local food culture. We bring together community organisations, individuals, local politicians, food producers/businesses and public institutions to put Good Food at the heart of the town. 

Community groups and small-scale growers are doing brilliant work creating resilient and sustainable food systems in Eastbourne. However, food growers are also on the front line of the effects of climate crisis and the increasingly unpredictable weather. Our project aims to support growers in the Blue Heart area to create edible ecosystems that better regulate water and temperature extremes. We know that the answers are already out there in the community. And this project aims to harvest and share this knowledge by creating a bank of techniques viable for small-scale growers and adapted to the Blue Heart area. We will support different growers to put these techniques into place. We will empower the community to test new approaches and produce data for community benefit.

“Community gardens and individual growers are a vital part of building sustainable and inclusive food systems and more resilient communities. Many growers share locally-grown and nutritious produce with community food projects. These create supply chains that bypass the environmental and health costs of industrial farming. The burden of soggy plots in winter and endless watering in summer can be discouraging for community groups. The Blue Heart funding will allow us to support these growers to develop more resilient and easy-going growing systems. They will build on expertise that is already present in the community and we are so grateful for their support for this project. It all feeds into our vision for more food grown by and for the community in Eastbourne.” 

Nancy Wilson, Eastbourne Food Partnership coordinator. 
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Treebourne – planting trees and wildflowers at Ocklynge School, Eastbourne

Treebourne is a volunteer-run charity in Eastbourne, working with the council and independently, to find sites – large and small – to plant trees and wildflower meadows. To date we have planted over 18,000 trees across 9 sites,1000 street trees and 3 wildflower meadows. We have 3 small community tree nurseries, where we are growing approximately 2000 trees a year to supply our projects.  Our aim is to maximise the capture of CO2 emissions and enhance biodiversity wherever we can. In short, we plan to turn Eastbourne green. 

Treebourne is embarking on a student-led project to transform areas of the Ocklynge School grounds by planting a diverse mix of native tree species and wildflowers. Following the recent felling of 20 large ash trees due to Ash Dieback, larger standard-sized trees will restock the forest school and also be strategically placed throughout the school grounds to provide much-needed shade during the summer months.

Wildflowers will be sown into rotovated areas and the ground staff will be asked to leave the grass longer in selected spots to encourage wildlife to thrive. And of course this initiative is aimed at educating children about the importance of environmental stewardship and how they can play a vital role in mitigating the effects of climate change. Accordingly, Treebourne volunteers will lead an engaging lesson plan to impart the knowledge of how trees sequester carbon, prevent flooding, absorb pollution, cool buildings, and provide habitats for wildlife. 

“We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Blue Heart Community Fund. This grant provides us with the opportunity to transform areas of the Ocklynge School’s grounds into a biodiversity haven that will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. Through collaboration with teachers, parents, and local volunteers, we can inspire and empower the students to take an active part in tackling the climate crisis.”

Gareth Jones, Treebourne Trustee
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Watercycle – a mobile engagement hub for exploring water with different audiences in diverse locations

Clare Whistler and Charlotte Still are local artists who curated Water Week for a number of years. This week-long, annual art and information event brought together artists and non-artists around the theme of water.

They won the CIWEM Award for Arts and Environment, and have inspired many people to think more deeply about water.

Watercycle will be a mobile/movable water library and hub inspired by the water cycle, travelling around the Blue Heart project area, to reach new people and insights about water and it’s place in our lives.

Everybody has a water story – Watercycle will be a place to share, explore, discuss, play, create, and celebrate the beauty and elemental meaning of water, as well as finding out more about how climate change and human activity are impacting it. 
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Eastbourne Allotments and Garden Society – raised beds to support involvement by people with mobility issues including older growers

Eastbourne Allotments and Gardens Society is a not-for-profit organisation.  We are entirely self-funding so rely heavily on our trusted band of Committee Members, Trustees and other volunteers.

The Blue Heart grant will support us to install three raised beds at our Priory Road allotment site in the Langley area, to increase capacity and improve access for older growers/people with disabilities.