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Funding for Fifteen Fantastic Projects

Our first round of Main Grants for 2024 has just been finalised and we’ve allocated over £30,000 to 15 amazing and varied marine conservation projects around the UK.  Here’s a run down of the successful applicants:

Engagement Projects

  • We’re funding the Cleaner Seas Project to run their art project ‘A-Z of Cleaner Seas’ with 26 schools.  The project aims to simplify the language used around marine conservation, fostering inclusion and a wider interest and participation in environmental issues.

  • Groundwork South (Torbay, Devon) and Kent Wildlife Trust (Folkestone and Dover) are both using their grant to work with local youth groups to research, plan and organise community projects such as beach clean-ups, awareness days, lobbying and citizen science initiatives.

  • Leicester-based Soft Touch Arts work with young people who are struggling to reach their potential. Our funding will enable six young people to travel to Cornwall and work on marine conservation projects with St Agnes Conservation Group.  The learning will be shared with the rest of the Soft Touch community through a follow-up art project.

Research Projects

  • Cornwall Wildlife Trust are researching seagrass restoration which has the potential to be a valuable nature-based solution to climate change. In this specific project they will be measuring baseline amounts of carbon stored in the bare mudflat habitats before restoration trials begin.

  • Friends of the Itchen Estuary are mobilising citizen scientist to collect data on pollution of the Itchen Estuary near Southampton – an important site for both a critically endangered species of salmon and overwintering birds.  Through sharing the data, they aim to encourage investment in the local wastewater treatment plant to improve the quality of its sewage effluent and reduce sewage overflow.

  • Researchers including early career marine biology students from Scotland’s Rural University and College (SRUC) will be researching the effect of seal-watching tourism in Aberdeenshire.

  • Marine Conservation for Norfolk Action Group (MCNAG) will be surveying Norfolk’s chalk reef - a rare habitat which, although it lies in a Marine Conservation Zone, is being eroded and damaged by fishing.  They will also be clearing ‘ghost gear’ – lost crab fishing pots which pollute and damage the reef and kill wildlife.

  • Southsea Sub-Aqua Club aims to gather high quality data from sites in Langstone and Chichester harbours to inform a greater understanding of the underwater habitats and species present and provide a baseline for measuring change.

  • Researchers from the University of Highlands and Islands in Shetland will be surveying harbour porpoise populations around Shetland using Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) devices to better understand when and where they’re located and provide the information needed to implement possible conservation measures for the species.

Direct Action Projects

  • Community Supporters are using their grant to improve biodiversity, conservation awareness and accessibility at the beach at Bexhill, Sussex.

  • Journey Blue Net Collect offer the commercial fishing community a free end-of-life fishing gear recycling programme.  The grant will enable them to purchase a second-hand trailer to transport the material they collect to a central location before it’s sent to be recycled.

  • Ullapool Sea Savers use their newly purchased boat to uplift rubbish - especially marine plastic - collected by local communities from remote beaches around the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area.  We are funding their boat maintenance and fuel costs for this year’s collections.

  • Last but not least, our grant to Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary means they can resurface their main seabird pool (which was itself funded by Sea-Changers back in 2018) and install a filter system to keep it clean. The pool is an essential part of seabird rehabilitation, and the new upgrade will improve bird welfare and save the staff from a very time consuming and – I imagine – unpleasant cleaning job!


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