Three projects based in the South of England are to share a prize of over £1.7 Million after being announced as winners of People's Postcode Lottery's 2015 Dream Fund. 'Energy Gardens', 'Taming the Floods – Somerset Levels' and 'Edible Playgrounds' were all announced as winners at People's Postcode Lottery's annual charity gala on 28 January 2015.
Energy Gardens, a joint project between Groundwork London and Repowering London, aims to turn 50 of London's Overground Rail Operations stations into greener spaces – providing sustainable volunteering and training opportunities to grow edible produce and transform under-utilised public spaces.
The £750,000 awarded by players of People's Postcode Lottery will be used to offer local groups and individuals across London tools and equipment to create their very own gardens at local stations, where they will be offered support in designing the garden and running planting sessions.
Ben Coles, Director, Communities & Environmental Services, Groundwork London, said, "On behalf of Groundwork and our partners - Repowering London and London Overground Rail Operations Ltd - we are so delighted to win People's Postcode Lottery's Dream Fund and that our dream project can become a reality. The Energy Garden project will enable us to reach one million people, bringing communities together around their stations, and in turn linking all of these communities together right across London. We can't wait to invite Londoners to come forward and work with us in bringing new gardens to life at their local stations. We hope this is the end for bleak, grey, concrete platforms and the beginning of green, bright, welcoming and vibrant spaces! A massive thank you to players of People's Postcode Lottery for the support that is making the Energy Garden dream come alive."
Taming the Floods – Somerset Levels, which also secured £750,000, is a three-way partnership between The Royal Bath & West of England Society, Somerset Wildlife Trust and the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group, and was developed as a result of the devastating floods in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The project aims to protect the Somerset Levels against future flooding and rebuild both pride and ecological celebration within the landscape. Open community discussions about shaping the future of the Levels will lead to collaboration between both landowners and communities to improve flood defences by hedge and wood planting, creating debris dams and digging ditches. Hopefully these changes will bring lasting change to the Somerset Levels and therefore safeguard the area for future generations.
Edwin White, Chairman of the Somerset Levels Development Fund, said, "On behalf of the Royal Bath & West of England Society, and our partners Somerset Wildlife Trust and FWAG SW, I would like to express our gratitude to players of People's Postcode Lottery for making this award possible. Our Somerset Levels Dream Fund project will help reduce the extent of damaging flooding such as we have seen in recent years by reducing water flowing from the upper to the lower catchments on the Somerset Levels and helping support a thriving, resilient wetland landscape. This will help protect this unique environment as well as the homes and livelihoods of the communities who live and work on the Levels."
Healthy living project Edible Playgrounds is a joint initiative between Trees for Cities, School Food Matters and Chefs Adopt a School. This project will use the £249,180 awarded to give all primary school children in London the opportunity to grow, harvest, cook and eat healthy food in a positive and safe environment. The project will transform outdoor spaces in schools into productive food-growing and outdoor learning resources and encourage children to think differently about food production and what they eat.
Kate Sheldon, Development Director at Trees for Cities said, "We are delighted and honoured to have won the Dream Fund 2015. It's thrilling to have the chance to deliver our dream of an Edible Playground in every school across the country, giving all children the opportunity to grow, cook and eat healthy food. The UK faces a serious health crisis – a third of children are overweight or obese when they leave primary school. We will use the support from players of People's Postcode Lottery to create ten flagship Edible Playgrounds in urban schools, and roll out Edible Playground as the UK model for food-growing in schools. The Edible Playground programme will get kids excited about food, change children's eating habits, and empower children to make well-informed, life-enhancing decisions."
The announcement was made at People's Postcode Lottery's annual Charity Gala, held in Edinburgh on Wednesday 28 January. To date, players have raised £58.6 Million for charities and good causes.
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery said, "Dream Fund 2015 offers organisations the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £750,000 to bring their dream project to life. This is our biggest ever Dream Fund prize pot, and it is absolutely fantastic that our players have been able to support all three of these fantastic organisations and make their dream projects a reality."
Including the announcement for the 2015 Dream Fund, over £3 Million in additional funding for supported charities was also announced at the Gala. Dame Kelly Holmes joined 300 guests to celebrate the impact that players of People's Postcode Lottery have on charities and good causes.