West Wight People and Place

The West Wight People and Place project is taking shape. A few more portraits to take and then final preparation for the exhibition early next year.

Remember those old grainy black and white photographs of farm workers starring at the camera, their names, now long forgotten?

Well, the idea behind West Wight People and Place is to try and capture a more modern version of the community in the West Wight area. People who are, in some way, connected with the land, sea, community or heritage of this wind-swept corner of the Isle of Wight.

Its a moment in time.

Photography: Pete Johnstone

 

Isle of Wight travels (May)

I am still very much enjoying exploring my new surroundings on the isle of Wight – not yet a year in and still so much more to see – I enjoyed the walk around Mill Copse a woodland managed my the Wight Fund for Nature a volunteer group who manage several other nature reserves on the Island.

I’m pleased to be working with Freshwater Parish Council on their rich array of green spaces dotted around the village which include recreation ground, sports field, ancient wood and pond complete with a floating island. The council owned green spaces link in well with rights of way and other open space managed by a variety of organisations.

Energy is a new crop – Solar Panels are now to be found on many farms and Rye is a popular crop to be grown – not for food but for the anaerobic digester plant on the island.

Talking to the willow worker I met in Yarmouth, I learnt that local fishermen use to weave lobster pots from the willows growing along the River Yar, this craft is no longer around, but good to see a willow bower being made alongside the footpath looking up the estuary.

New sources of grant funding available

As we move into February grants and funding for community and environmental organisations is beginning to pick up and it is good to see some new funding coming on stream. In this months blog I have picked out several grants which will hopefully be of interest to you. If they are of help and you are successful in getting funding I would love to hear about it.

BBC Children in Need – Small Grants programme (UK)

Grants up to £10,000 are available for not for profit organisations per year for up to 3 years through the BBC Children in Need Small Grants programme. Funding is available for children and young people aged 18 and under who are experiencing disadvantage, any kind of disability, behavioural difficulties and /or living in poverty or deprivation.

Further details here

Deadline: 1st March 2017

Suez Communities Trust (Formerly the Sita Trust) (England and Scotland)

Landfill Communities Fund funding from this excellently run scheme for community facilities and wildlife projects. Grants of up to £20,000 are available through its Smaller Project Fund and up to £50,000 through the Primary Fund. As it is Landfill Community Funding, to be eligible, your project has to be near a SUEZ Recycling and Recovery waste processing site.

Further details here

Deadline: 24th April 2017

Try for Change Funding

In partnership with England rugby, Comic Relief is launching its first initiative through the Try for Change Fund on the 6th February 2017.

The Try for Change Fund is a small grants programme aimed at supporting smaller charities, community groups and local community rugby clubs in England. Organisations can apply for between £2,500 and £10,000 for up to 12 months.

Further details here

Grow Wild – grants for young people (UK)

Young people aged between 12 and 25 can apply for grants of up to £500 for projects that raise the awareness about the importance of UK native wild flowers and plants.

The funding is being made available through Grow Wild, the biggest ever wild flower campaign, bringing people together to transform local spaces with native wild flowers and plants. Other funding is also available.

Further details: here

Deadline 27th February 2017

Coastal Communities (UK)

Some positive funding news from the Government! The Government has announced that the Coastal Communities Fund, a UK-wide programme designed to support the economic development of coastal communities is to be extended by four years and that a further 28 teams are to be set up.

Each team – made up of local volunteers, councils and local businesses will receive an initial £10,000 each to develop a blueprint for economic growth and be offered support from a network geared towards regenerating seaside areas.

Further details: here

Deadline date unclear.

British Ecological Society Outreach Grants

Through the BES Outreach programme, individuals, and not for profit organisations can apply for grants to promote ecological science to a wide audience. The funding is available for projects that increase understanding of, and engagement with ecology.

Maximum award is £2,000

Further details: here

Deadline: 22nd March 2017

Grow the Game

The Football Foundation’s Grow the game Fund grant scheme will reopen on the 1st February 2017.

The aim of the fund is to increase participation in football by bth players and volunteers. Organisations are able to receive £1,500 per new team created over two to three years with financial support being reduced in the second and third year of the project.

Deadline: 29th March 2017

Further details: here

Other grants available.

On the sport side – worth investigating some interesting new grants from Sport England. On the community side the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme is going from strength to strength and has just announced £18. 5 million for community projects in England. I also expect we will soon hear who has been successful in the Great Place Scheme. This new pilot scheme is funded by the HLF, Arts Council and Historic England  with the aim of putting arts, culture and heritage in the heart of communities – this is the sort of grants scheme I really like – a good amount of money and one that works across traditional sector boundaries.

Crowdfunding

It is pleasing to see more and more organisations are trying their hand at crowdfunding to raise much needed cash for community and environmental projects. This is good news but many of the groups fail to use the tried and tested techniques that help them maximise their chance of reaching their target. The Crowdfunding Nature project we did last year was pulled together by an evaluation video – Tips for Success in running a crowdfunding campaign. It can be seen here.

PJ.elements can help with scoping funds for community and environmental projects – if you would like to see how we can help please contact me via the contact page.

All the best

Pete

Feature Picture: My January travels around the Isle of Wight.

 

 

Red Squirrels: A Future in the Forest, a Crowdfunding project from Scotland

Here is an opportunity to contribute to a crowdfunding project in Scotland combining Red Squirrels, a life time passion and some stunning  photography.

Today  sees  the  launch  of  a  crowd  funding  campaign  to  raise  funds  for  The  Red  Squirrel:  A  Future  in   the  Forest  -­‐  an  exciting  new  photo  book  from  wildlife  photographer  Neil McIntyre,  with  words  from   celebrated  author  Polly  Pullar.

The  book  will  be  packed  with  Neil’s  jaw-­‐dropping  images  and   evocatively  portrays  not  only  the  lives  of  his local  squirrels,  but  the  forest  home  they  depend  on.

The   crowd  funding  campaign  runs  throughout  November  and  is  all  or  nothing.  Any  support  you’re  able  to   provide  is  hugely appreciated,  whether  it’s  spreading  the  word  or snapping  up  an  exclusive  reward.

UPDATE: Project raised in excess of £25,000 through crowdfunding – well done to the team! It certainly shows that with a good idea, excellent networking and a good team, environmental crowdfunding can really bring success. 

Visit the campiagn on Kickstarter here

Photo and video credits: Neil McIntyre

A Great Place

October has been spent meeting some interesting people – perhaps you may know some of them from my mosaic – and in visiting places around the island to get to know my new home.  I am learning a lot of what the Island has got to offer and what it has not.

Finding the funds to do valuable work is a common theme when talking to people be it on church or parish projects, landscape improvements or those working on regeneration projects such as the Pluto Project in Sandown, mentioned in my last blog.  It is good to know that crowdfunding is being talked about with enthusiasm and hopefully my crowdfunding video – tips for success will be of help to those who have yet to venture into this form of fundraising.

I was really chuffed that On the Wight chose one of my photos, Abstract Sands to be their photo of the week – particularly pleasing for me as most of my photography tends to be of people rather of landscapes.

The two best venues I have been to this month are the Piano Cafe in Freshwater which serves excellent coffee and the Neil Williams Gallery in Ventnor whose landscape photography is truly stunning. The Island is certainly a great place and I look forward to seeing more of it and meeting new people in the months to come.

Isle of Wight – environmental grant funding support and advice from PJ.elements

PJ.elements update

Our move from Cambridgeshire to the Isle of Wight has been successful and we are now looking to continue our work to help communities and environmental organisations both here on the Island and elsewhere in the UK.

The work that PJ.elements can provide includes:

Project development

Developing funding plans, scoping funding opportunities and working with organisations with business planning and raising the profile and public appeal of your organisation.

Examples of previous work: Funding plans for the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, the charity Cambridge Past Present and Future. Audience development work for Heritage Lottery Fund funded landscape partnership schemes and a funding and right of way project with the rural charity Cambridgeshire ACRE.

Fundraising

Fundraising for specific projects and help with applications to lottery bodies, trusts and foundations, including supporting crowdfunding campaigns.

Examples of previous work: Project managing a crowdfunding campaign * with Natural England and 5 wildlife organisations and successful fundraising for a Local Nature Partnership.

Photography

Our photography has been used widely to support funding bids, help illustrate work in progress and providing stock images for PR purposes. The focus of the photography is around people and the environment.

Examples of previous work: Commissioned work for WildlifeTrustBCN, the David Attenborough Conservation Building and numerous HLF funded projects.

Pete Johnstone who runs PJ.elements is keen to hear from parish councils, community groups and environmental organisations who may need help in any of the above areas.

For an informal chat to discuss your project ideas and to get a quote please contact:

Pete Johnstone

Email: pete.johnstone (at) btinternet.com

Phone: 07842 572632

*As part of the evaluation the Crowdfunding Nature campaign we made a video Tips for Success – watch it here > :  https://youtu.be/WIPa4SzTWn0

 

 

 

Goodbye East Anglia!

After 23 glorious years living in East Anglia we are heading south. We will be leaving behind some wonderful friends and a rich and varied landscape full of colour and interest. When I joined the Cambridge office of the Countryside Commission in 1993 someone said to me the landscape was flat and boring – how wrong could they be. It is a fantastic place and I will be sad to go.

Now it is time to try somewhere new and we are heading to the Isle of Wight to find new landscapes and to meet new friends. As we make the move PJ.elements will be taking a break for a while and will hopefully re -surface again in September with a new home and camera in hand!

With best wishes,

Pete Johnstone

Crowdfunding Nature – evaluation video on recent work to test the effectiveness of crowdfunding for wildlife organisations in the East of England

Elements of the Landscape

Now at the start of April, Elements in the Landscape is just beginning to take shape with lots of phone calls resulting in some more people allowing me to take their photograph. My project is very much about the people in the landscape and their connection to it as it is about the landscape itself.

Jenny Furong, Chatteris Museum

Jenny Furlong, Chatteris Museum

Jenny Furlong is the volunteer Curator of Chatteris Museum, a post she has held for 15 years and now shares with Ian Mason. The Museum moved to the present location in Chatteris in 1995.

One of the exhibits in the Museum is on Cornelius Vermuyden who in the 1650s commissioned by the Crown, directed major projects to drain the Fens and who constructed a system of ‘washes’, to allow periodic flooding of the area by water.

 

Paul Fox and Peter Gardiner, Welney

Paul Fox and Peter Gardiner, Welney

Welney Residents Users Group is a community action group that was formed in 2014 and established as a charity in March 2015. In April 2015 RUG took over the lease of Sandgate Corner – a large overgrown field in the north of the village. Welney RUG are in the process of turning the area into a community greenspace and wildlife area, with orchard, sensory garden and play area.

Peter Gardiner pruning in the orchard

Peter Gardiner pruning in the orchard.

Peter Gardiner a resident of Welney for almost 17 years and a member of RUG has recently retired and has spent some of his spare time helping with the selection, planning and planting of the orchard and native trees.

The young fruit trees will require yearly pruning and with this in mind Peter and another resident recently attended a pruning course with the East of England Apples and Orchards Project to learn the necessary skills required to maintain the new fruit trees.

 

Fred Ingrams painting in the fens

Fred Ingrams painting in the fens.

The fens have changed my life said Fred, an artist who has a passion for painting the fens landscape. I will be painting a scene when a farmer will come up to me and tell me some amazing stories, there is a certain quality about the fen people and landscape which is unique and not to be found anywhere else.

PJ.elements have been awarded a small grant by the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme to deliver Elements of the Landscape, a project to photograph people living and working in the Ouse Washes landscape and document their story through images. The people captured in the portraits will have a connection to the land or water, farming, biodiversity crafts or community life.

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme is a 3-year project largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The scheme focuses on the promotion of the area surrounding the Ouse Washes, the heart of the Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Fens, and on encouraging community engagement with the area’s diverse heritage.

The wildlife property developer of the fens

At first glance the Fens landscape surrounding the Ouse Washes does not feel like a place that is rich in wildlife, indeed it is has a strong farming heritage and is well known in the UK for growing salad crops, root vegetables and wheat in the low lying fertile soils. However, I was to learn something different as I was to meet Cliff Carson the Environmental Officer for the Middle Level Commissioners, the organisation that manages the flood defence and water levels in the Ouse Washes area and beyond.

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The Middle Level Commissioners.

As I drove down a narrow fen road to meet Cliff I passed by several half – built and now derelict bungalows which for some untold reason had been abandoned by the owners before they were completed and they looked a real mess and blot on the landscape. I met up with Cliff and we drove off in his truck to survey work he has done over the last five years for the Middle Level Internal Drainage Board Biodiversity Action Plan. Essentially wildlife improvements for the most threatened plants and animals that require some conservation help along the way, both to increase their numbers and the places where they live.

Over the length of the day we visited pumping stations to inspect on bat boxes and barn owl boxes that Cliff had constructed over the last five years. In fact, 92 barn owl boxes to be exact, erected in barns and on the sides of pumping stations – these boxes are well used and are really important for the breeding success of the owls as there is precious little natural nesting sites for the birds.

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Inspecting a barn owl box on the side of a pumping station.

The reason for meeting Cliff was as part of my Elements in the Landscape project to photograph people who live and work in the Ouse Washes landscape and who have some connection with it – and Cliff certainly fitted my criteria as he spent over 30 years with the RSPB at the Ouse Washes reserve and more recently 10 years with the Middle Level Commissioners.

Under a road bridge Cliff showed me the difference between otter spraints and mink scats, with the former apparently having a strong musky smell, not that I noticed that much on the cold February morning! It is good to know the otter is holding its own in the area, although some are being found drowned in the illegal eel nets as eel numbers begin to increase.   Cliff has helped the otter population too with constructing over 70 otter holts along the banks of the drains with the help of funding from Landfill Community Fund grants.

 

 

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Clearing out kingfisher holes in the metal revetment.

The Kingfisher is another species that has had a helping hand – here Cliff has bored over 150 holes at over 80 locations in the metal revetments to create artificial nest sites and during our trip around the Washes Cliff got busy deepening the holes to get the right angle so that the Kingfishers can fly up from just above the water into the nest.

Our day finished, we drove back and Cliff joked that he is sometimes referred to as the wildlife property developer of the fens as so much of his time is spent constructing homes for wildlife.  It is more than likely that much of his wildlife home making will last for decades and will a great legacy for wildlife, which is more than can be said for the property developer of the decaying bungalows I passed on my way home.

Pete Johnstone.

 

 

 

 

PJ.elements have been awarded a small grant by the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme to deliver Elements of the Landscape, a project to photograph people living and working in the Ouse Washes landscape and document their story through images. The people captured in the portraits will have a connection to the land or water, farming, biodiversity crafts or community life.

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme is a 3-year project largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The scheme focuses on the promotion of the area surrounding the Ouse Washes, the heart of the Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Fens, and on encouraging community engagement with the area’s diverse heritage.

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Little egrets and whooper swans in the distance