We're looking for seven groups to join Grow Wild’s Community Programme, each will receive £2000 to transform an urban space
Denmark Hill Community Garden, Jeff Eden/RBG Kew
Are you part of a community, youth or voluntary group? Has your group got a project idea to connect local people with the natural world? Do you know an urban space that would be ideal for a transformation?
If the answer is yes - apply to join Grow Wild's Community Programme and bring your ideas to life. You'll be supporting Grow Wild's mission to bring people together to value and enjoy UK native plants.
Application deadline: 10am on Friday 24th March 2023
What is the Grow Wild Community Programme?
In the UK we’re lucky to have a wonderful variety of native plant species. As well as bringing colour and interest to our lives, they provide vital food sources and shelter for insects, birds and other wildlife.
Despite being rewarding to grow and experience, many UK native species are in decline, particularly in urban areas.
Grow Wild is looking for seven groups from across the UK who would like to help change this, by transforming an urban space through planting and taking positive actions for nature.
We’re seeking groups who will involve other people in their project and create transformations that will benefit their wider community.
What could your group receive?
- A grant of £2000 to transform an urban space with UK native plants. You can also use your grant to engage other people in your project through workshops, events and learning activities.
- Successful groups will receive their grant around the end of May and projects need to be completed by the end of October 2023.
- Project leaders from the successful groups will be invited to join online meet-ups, and training facilitated by Grow Wild. These will be chances to connect, hear about each other’s projects, learn and share experiences.
This opportunity is more than just financial support - we’re seeking groups who will welcome all the programme has to offer and be keen to actively engage.
Cordwainers Grow, Ines Stuart-Davidson /RBG Kew
How to apply...
Step 1 – Check your group and project idea are eligible.
Step 2 - Read our guidance for applicants.
Step 3 - Get chatting and innovating with your group, to come up with your winning idea.
Step 4 - Prepare an ‘elevator pitch’, a 5 minute video, telling us what you want to do and how you’ll do it.
Step 5 – Complete and submit our short application form by 10am on Friday 24th March 2023.
We recommend taking a look at the application questions in plenty of time before the deadline, so you can prepare the information requested. We've created a list of the questions that you can download and view, to help you get everything ready.Grow Wild Community Programme - Application Questions 2023.pdf
Once the deadline has closed, we’ll create a shortlist of the project ideas that have impressed us the most.
If this includes your group's application, we’ll then ask you for more detail about your project plans to help our panel of experts select the seven successful groups.
More about us...
Grow Wild is the national outreach learning initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Grow Wild community projects are supported by Alexander McQueen, bringing communities together to value and enjoy UK native plants.
Heath Hands, Ines Stuart-Davidson/RBG Kew
Guidance for applicants
The information below tells you everything you need to know about this grant opportunity and how to make your application.
We can fund…
- Non profit organisations. Such as voluntary, youth or community groups. Secondary schools, resident’s groups, community associations, health authorities/health boards.
Please note: If you are a secondary school, it’s important that your project is still active and project leaders fully contactable during the school holidays.
- Primary or nursery schools
- Local Authorities
- Sole traders or individuals
- Projects where Grow Wild funds could be used for commercial benefits
- Organisations and projects based outside of the UK.
Your group needs to have…
- Two members of staff or volunteers who can liaise with Grow Wild:
- A project lead contact. The person who will be responsible for delivery of the project and main point of contact for Grow Wild.
- A secondary contact. Ideally someone in a senior position and financially accountable, e.g a trustee or director.
These contacts need to be aged 18 or over and can’t be related to each other, through any family connection.
- An up-to-date constitution, or equivalent governance document, that sets out your purpose, aims and objectives. This should be agreed and signed by your group’s board.
- Its own bank account, in the name of your group. We’ll need to see evidence of this before we pay your grant.
- Landowner permission. Where your project idea involves transforming a space or carrying out activity on land that doesn’t belong to you, you’ll need permission from the landowner. We’ll ask you to provide confirmation of this permission when you apply.
- The relevant policies and procedures in place, to ensure you can complete your project safely and responsibly. Here’s a list of what we require:
- Equal opportunities policy
- Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, policy and procedures
- Health and safety policy, to include Covid-19
- Volunteering guidelines – if important to the project
- Public liability insurance, appropriate for the activities of the project.
Please note: You’ll be asked to upload your safeguarding policy and procedures when you apply. We don’t need to see evidence of the other policies on the list during the application stage but could ask for these later.
Projects that focus on UK native plants, helping other people understand their importance for the environment and our lives.
Projects that will transform an urban space. This could be in a single location, such as a garden at your local community centre. Alternatively, you could transform several smaller locations that are connected through your project activity. Please note that we can’t fund projects in rural areas.
Your project should aim to enhance the biodiversity of your space, with planting/growing as a core activity.
Growing doesn’t need to be your only activity, but it should be at the heart of your project. We’re keen to fund projects that will encourage nature to thrive, having a positive impact for pollinating insects, birds and other wildlife.
Projects led by groups who care about the environment and will use sustainable materials and practices.
As part of this we’ll ask all successful groups to commit to buying only peat-free compost. In the application form we’ll also ask you to tell us about any other steps you will be taking to be environmentally friendly. For example, using recycled materials, buying local, composting, installing a water butt, not using pesticides etc.
Projects that have the potential to reach at least 300 people.
This may sound like a big number, but it’s not too difficult to achieve with social media to help. We’ll be looking to see how other people will benefit from your project idea, so think about the quality and impact of what you will offer
Projects that will work with one or more of Grow Wild’s target audiences:
- Young people aged 12-25.
- People experiencing some disadvantage or reduced access to services.
- People who are less engaged with others in their local community.
- People who face barriers to connecting with nature.
- Disabled people.
Projects led by groups that are keen to connect.
Project leaders will be invited to share their experiences with other successful groups and attend online events and training facilitated by Grow Wild
Some of our online training sessions may also have follow up activities for your group to try out, for example pollinator counts and other nature surveys. The estimated time commitment involved will be around two to three hours per month, from May to October
Please note - we can’t support projects delivered in rural, conservation or protected areas such as SSSIs. We also won’t be able to fund any projects which require planning permission, because this process will take too long.
A grant from Grow Wild can be used to pay for all your project specific costs and activities.
This can include seeds, plants, soil, materials, events, workshop charges, specialist experts and contractor costs.
Applicants can allocate up to 25% of the Grow Wild grant towards staff costs related to direct delivery of project activities.
This can include workshop preparation and delivery, volunteer support, practical sessions.
Grow Wild grants can’t be used to cover core organisational costs or staff costs that are not related to the direct delivery of the project.
Grants can be used to pay for individuals not employed by your organisation and partner organisations to deliver project activities.
What they will do must be relevant to your project aims and planned outcomes. (If you project idea is shortlisted for the second stage, we’ll ask you for full details of this).
Match funding is not requested or scored as part of your group’s application.
If you have other funding for related projects taking place in the same space, you can tell us about this in more detail if your project is shortlisted.
It’s expected that the project idea described in your application can be comfortably delivered with the £2000 grant from Grow Wild, independently of other funding.
Consider the timing of your project and the growing seasons.
If your application is successful, you can expect to receive your grant during May. This is getting late to do a spring wildflower seed sowing, especially if we have a warm, dry spell. If you want to grow wildflowers from seed, it’s best to think about waiting until September to do an autumn sowing. If this feels too long to wait, planting plug plants could be a good option to start off with.
The grant can’t be used to buy items that are not directly related to your project.
Avoid budgets that only pay for physical infrastructure; think also about the costs for getting people involved.
If you are unsure whether your group or project idea is eligible for a grant, please email Grow Wild for some advice or call us on 07824 104 632
If you are successful, we will expect your group to let us know how your project is going.
This will involve taking and sharing photos of your project in action and completing some simple evaluation forms, to help us measure the impact of this initiative.
We are looking for groups with project leaders who are keen to attend Grow Wild’s online training, connect and share experiences.
Some of our online training sessions may also have follow up activities for your group, for example pollinator counts and other nature surveys. The estimated time commitment involved will be around two to three hours per month, from May to October. Sessions are usually held on weekdays or evenings, and we will aim to find times that will work for the majority. Training sessions will also be recorded.
Grow Wild will create a case study about your project to share with our wider audience and programme funders.
We will ask to visit your project during the summer, take photographs and talk to members of your group. Your help to arrange this visit will be much appreciated.
To apply, gather your group and start planning your ‘elevator pitch’ - a short video, 5 minutes maximum, telling us what you want to do, how you will do it, and an indication of how you will spend the money.
Include a link to your video in your application form. Make sure your link is enabled for Grow Wild to view.
You may find it easiest to first upload your video to a sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo. But check the privacy settings, to make sure your video isn’t publicly discoverable if you don’t want it to be.
Please ensure that you have consent from all participants in the video and they have been informed that it will be shared with Grow Wild. If your video includes any young people under 18, you must obtain their parental consent.
There are lots of ways you can create your video and if you prefer not to be featured on camera yourself, that's fine!
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking...
- You could film your space, providing an audio or subtitled description.
- You could interview other members of your group or wider community, explaining why the project idea is fantastic.
- You could film things in your local area that have helped to inspire your idea.
- You could even create a short animation.
If you think creating a video will be difficult for your group because of any specific access needs, please contact Grow Wild to discuss a suitable alternative.
Important things to include in your pitch…
- Introduce your group.
- Tell us about your idea and why you want to do it.
- Explain how your idea will celebrate UK native plants.
- Show or tell us about the space you want to transform.
- Explain how your project will have a positive impact for biodiversity – this can include benefits for pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
- Tell us who you will involve and what they will do.
- What will you spend the £2000 on?
At this stage we just need an overview of costs. For example, mention of any materials, equipment, plants or training you need, staff time or events expenses.
Please note: Up to 25% (£500) of the grant may be used to pay staff from your group to deliver project activities.
Please see 'How can the grant be spent?' above, for full details about how the grant can be used.
We recommend taking a look at the application questions in plenty of time before the deadline, so you can prepare the information requested.
We've created a list of the questions that you can download and view, to help you get everything ready.Grow Wild Community Programme - Application Questions 2023.pdf
You’ll be asked to provide:
- A copy of your group’s constitution or equivalent document.
- The name and contact details of a designated project leader and a secondary contact, to liaise with Grow Wild.
- A copy of a letter/email confirming any landowner permissions, if relevant to your project idea.
- A copy of your group’s safeguarding children and vulnerable adults policy and procedures.
- Details of any partner or supporting organisations who will be involved or providing you with assistance.
- A link to your 'elevator pitch' video - your application is not complete without this.
- You may also share up to three photographs showing the space you wish to transform, this is optional.
For full details about how to create your elevator pitch video, please see our 'how to' section above.
If creating a video will be difficult for your group because of any specific access needs, please contact Grow Wild to discuss a suitable alternative.
Complete and submit your application by 10am Friday 24th March 2023
If you have any questions about making your application, please email Grow Wild for some advice or call us on 07824 104 632
Plan how to involve people safely.
You need to consider the health and safety of everyone connected with your project, this includes Covid-19. If your application is successful, we’ll expect your group to have appropriate risk assessments in place for all your activities.
You should also ensure that appropriate safeguarding procedures are in place to protect any people under the age of 18, or vulnerable adults, who get involved with your project. We’ll ask you to submit a copy of your safeguarding policy and procedures when you apply.
Make sure you are aware of any hazards within your space.
It’s the responsibility of your group to research the space you want to transform and make sure it is safe and suitable for your planned activities. Important things to consider include:
- Knowing the location of any underground services if you will be digging
- Being aware of any antisocial behaviour that takes place in the local area
- Checking for the presence of hazardous litter, such as broken glass.
If in doubt, talk this all through carefully with the landowner.
Engage with people in the area local to your project.
Before applying for a grant, check that your planned activities will not have an adverse effect on how a communal space is used or experienced by other stakeholders. They might also share some great ideas to help make your project even better!
Make sure you have appropriate public liability insurance for your activities.
If your application is successful, the Grow Wild team will be on hand to provide general project support and help with any queries you might have about your grant.
The Grow Wild team will also be connecting the successful groups, to encourage peer to peer support and you will have access to Grow Wild’s programme of online talks and training.
It’s important to note that the Grow Wild team won’t be able to advise you with any technical or day-to-day aspects of delivering your project.
For example, any specific site conditions, soils, plant identification, landscaping or construction techniques.
For this sort of help, we ask you to approach local experts. Either knowledgeable individuals known to your group or local organisations, with the skills you need. This may be given freely, or you can use a proportion of your grant to pay for this help.
It’s important when planning your idea, to think about what help you might need and make sure it will be readily available.
We’re looking to fund innovative projects – but they also need to be comfortably achievable.
In the application form we ask you to tell us about any partner groups, organisations or individuals who will help make your project a success.
Useful sources of information include:
- Local conservation/environmental organisations
- Local horticultural groups
- UK native seed and plant suppliers
- Online reference: The Grow Wild website, The Wildlife Trusts, Royal Horticultural Society Plant Selector, Plantlife
We’re accepting applications until 10am on Friday 24th March 2023.
After the application deadline, we’ll review all the applications received and create a shortlist of the project ideas that have most impressed us.
We’ll notify groups that have been shortlisted for the next stage around mid April. So please look out for an email from Grow Wild.
Groups that have not been shortlisted will be notified via email by the end of May 2023. Due to the volume of applications, please be aware that Grow Wild won’t be able to provide any direct feedback to these groups.
If your group has been shortlisted, we’ll then ask for a bit more detail about your plans. This will involve sending us:
- A more detailed budget showing how you will spend the money.
- An initial timeline of when your activities will take place.
We’ll provide easy templates and guidance to help you prepare what we need to see.
Shortlisted groups will each be given two weeks to submit their budget plan and timeline.
Our panel of experts will then choose the seven successful projects.
Grants will be allocated to project ideas which best meet the criteria set out by Grow Wild and our programme objectives, please see 'What sort of projects can we fund?’ above, for full details.
Grow Wild reserves the right to make the final decision around which groups will receive a grant and no discussion will be entered into in relation to this decision.
Got some questions? Keen to talk through ideas? Get in touch with us.
Telephone: 07824 104 632 (Monday - Friday)