£300,000 in National Lottery funding available through the ‘Pots of Possibility’ fund to create a greener economy in North Lancashire

A sustainable food network in North Lancashire has secured £1.5 million in National Lottery funding to help stimulate a greener, more regenerative economy in the area. As part of this £300,000 in grants will be available to local organisations and community groups through the Closing Loops ‘Pots of Possibility’ fund.

FoodFutures, North Lancashire’s sustainable food network, launched the Closing Loops project in 2022 to help stimulate a thriving, regenerative local economy by supporting community-led action and local initiatives that transform waste into a valuable resource.

The project looks to support the transition to a more regenerative economy where people, the environment, materials and resources are valued. In a regenerative economy, local enterprises, organisations and people actively contribute to the health and wellbeing of their communities and the environment – putting life, health and wellbeing at the heart of every decision.

Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, and National Lottery players, £300,000 will be available through the Closing Loops ‘Pots of Possibility’ fund to enable community organisations, charities, social enterprises and others, to develop creative ideas in any of the following areas:

  • Growing, cooking and eating local, seasonal and sustainable food.
  • Initiatives that inspire people around sustainable consumption and zero waste practices.
  • Initiatives around composting.
  • Regenerative enterprises or initiatives for materials currently going to waste (for instance food, textiles, packaging, electronics and more)- with a focus on reducing consumption or reusing and repurposing of materials.
  • Regenerative enterprises or initiatives that enable the sharing and repurposing of resources (tools, materials, spaces and skills) within local communities.

The ‘Pots of Possibility’ scheme will offer two different granting opportunities:

  • Community Pots –  Grants of up to £5,000 to support pilot projects, test the feasibility of new ideas and support community projects.
  • REconomy Pots –  Grants of up to £10,000 awarded to grow ideas and scale up pilots that contribute to an ecosystem of regenerative initiatives and enterprises locally. The REconomy pots will be awarded through a participatory budgeting approach, which transfers considerable decision-making power to local communities and grant applicants.

The first round of Community Pots is now openoffering grants of between £1,000 to £5,000 to help get ideas off the ground. To find out more about the Pots of Possibility fund visit: www.foodfutures.org.uk/pots-of-possibility/

For inspiration and to learn more about how their ideas might contribute to a local regenerative economy, organisations and individuals can read the Spring 2023 edition of THRIVE: North Lancashire’s Community Food Magazine. THRIVE is available online from: www.foodfutures.org.uk/about-us/magazine/

Yak Patel, Chief Officer at Lancaster District CVS, said: “As the umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector across the Lancaster district, we’re always looking for ways to help charities and other not-for-profit organisations in their work supporting communities. That’s why we’re delighted to be working with LESS and all the Closing Loops project partners in taking action to help grow a zero-waste, regenerative economy in North Lancashire.

“Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery players, we’re proud to be distributing grants through the Pots of Possibility Fund. With these grants, grassroots projects will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of communities and our environment, helping to create a more sustainable future.”

Rachel Marshall, Closing Loops project coordinator at LESS, said: “It’s time to imagine and build a different type of economy, one that repairs, restores and regenerates the health of our environment and of our communities. The Closing Loops project is looking to create the conditions that allow for a more regenerative economy to emerge in North Lancashire.

“There’s lots  of fantastic ideas across our local communities, ranging from communities developing places to share tools, seeds, surplus food and more, through to local enterprises looking at how their business models could be adapted to put social and environmental regeneration at their core. The ‘Pots of Possibility’ funding will support people in developing ideas, big or small, that address the fundamental things we need for a healthier, happier planet and society.”

The £300,000 grant was awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Action Fund (CAF), which aims to help communities across the UK address the challenge of climate change.

Nick Gardner, Head of Climate Action at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Communities have a big role to play in tackling climate change locally and ultimately helping to move the UK towards net zero.  Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support organisations like FoodFutures, which are bringing individuals and community groups together and providing them with the tools they need to meet the climate change challenge in creative and inspiring ways.”

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