Our Spring Main Grants round had a closing date of March 31st and we had the highest demand for grants we have every experienced, with nearly 50 marine conservation projects put forward. Our evaluation panel had their work cut out to choose between them, but the final grant recipients have now been informed and we're very excited by the diverse of activity we can support, all around the UK coast.
The 21 successful projects will receive a total of just over £38,000, with each specific project receiving between £750 and £2,500. Projects are being supported all over the UK, from Newquay in the South West of England, to the Scottish Hebrides and from Whitby on the East coast to Anglesey in the far West of Wales.
Some projects will cover the nation as a whole. The Shark Trust has brought together 31 artists and creators from all over the world. These illustrators, sculptors and artists have each created and donated a piece depicting one of 31 oceanic shark or ray species. Through the project, the Shark Trust will shine a light on these incredible species and put a spotlight on conservation in the high seas. Sea-Changers is funding the exhibition tour starting in June 2023, and will travel around the UK until late 2024. The exhibition is supporting the Big Shark Pledge campaign - which invites people to add their voice to a community dedicated to the conservation of high seas sharks.
We're delighted to have received some great applications for our grants from coastal schools. Several grants will be supporting the ingenuity and enthusiasm of teachers and pupils in taking an active role cleaning up their coastlines and engaging the wider community in conservation issues.
Other projects have also spotted the immense value in engaging younger audiences, for example The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s research vessel, Silurian, is a unique platform from which the charity inspires, educates and involves local communities in marine conservation. Our grant will raise the anchor on HWDT’s floating classroom, spark passion for marine conservation and give children a unique and immersive experience onboard a Scottish whale research yacht. The floating classroom will sail to remote schools in Wester Ross and Gairloch on the west coast of Scotland to provide fantastic outdoor learning opportunities and inspire future ocean advocates. The grant will enable 125 children to take part in a floating classroom and 30-50 people from surrounding local communities will also join up for open boat evenings.
We continue to see many projects coming forward to remove pollutants and take direct action to reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans. In particular several grants this time round will focus on removing ghost fishing gear. One example is our funding to support Journey Blue to set up their fourth container to add to their current collection sites on the North Yorkshire Coast. They provide fishermen access to a free fishnet waste disposal facility, and partner directly with harbours and ports along the East Coast of the UK to provide a positive solution for end of life fishing gear.
The next round of our Main Grants Fund has a closing date of September 30th and we will look forward to funding another set of inspirational projects then!