Applications for this year’s Eco fund are now open
The Channel Islands Co-operative Society are once again looking for schools, community groups, charities and individuals who go that extra mile to protect the environment by awarding them with a donation to help fund their projects.
Now in its 11th year, the Society’s Eco fund has distributed thousands of pounds to projects that have an environmental focus including protecting Guernsey’s bees, supporting the Alderney Wildlife Trust, kickstarting a squirrel conservation project in Jersey and supporting endangered birds.
Last year the Eco fund provided more than £17,000 in funding to 14 environmental projects across the Channel Islands. Applications for this year’s fund will open on Monday 10 June and close on Wednesday 10 July.
The Society continues to support and protect the local environment and their long-term goal remains for all product packaging to be recyclable - an initial target has been set to reduce the amount of plastic packaging up to 80 per cent by 2020. In 2018, the Society phased out single-use carrier bags and is continuing to work with local suppliers to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging.
The Pick It Up Guernsey initiative was one of the successful applicants in Guernsey last year. Founder and trustee of the scheme, Andrew Munro said: ‘Last year I started to research the damage that cigarette butts cause as toxic tea bags, poisonous plastic pellets and the danger they are doing to our marine environment.
‘We were very fortunate last year that we received two lots of funding from the Co-op’s Eco fund. We received £1,100 which enabled us to import a pocket ashtray from a French company called Le Poket. We have purchased 7,500 of these which we are selling on to businesses at around cost so that there is a sustainable fund which can be reinvested, and the Co-op’s gift is not dissipated.
‘We also received £600 to expand our ‘litter picking lending scheme’. We have distributed litter pickers in libraries around Guernsey which people can come and borrow like they would a book and we are also putting them into beach kiosks.’
Around 30 applications are submitted to the fund every year and one of the key factors the judges look for when choosing successful applicants is the wide-reaching impact the project will have on the Channel Island’s sustainable heritage – whether that be through education, the marine environment or simply in islander’s own back garden.
The Society’s head of marketing Carl Winn said: ‘The Society’s Eco fund has been a huge success since its launch in 2011. We have supported hundreds of projects which have benefitted people of all ages across the islands and helped improve the environment we live in.
‘We are always looking at ways to reduce our impact on the environment and it’s fantastic to be able to support other islander’s initiatives across the Channel Islands. I would encourage anyone who has an idea to make our islands more environmentally friendly to apply for the fund, whether you are school, charity, or an individual.’