Blue Spaces - Wales, Mannau Glas – Cymru: Call for expressions of interest

Blue Spaces – Wales is a new initiative to support imaginative approaches to looking after local freshwaters – rivers, streams, lakes, canals and ponds.

Mae Mannau Glas – Cymru yn fenter newydd i gefnogi dulliau dyfeisgar o ofalu am ddyfroedd croyw lleol – afonydd, nentydd, llynnoedd, camlesi a phyllau.

Darllenwch y dudalen yma yn cymraeg

Updated 3 May 2023: Please note we are now closed to expressions of interest. Thank you for your interest.

As part of this, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has launched an open call for ideas and projects in Wales. We are interested in unusual partnerships and imaginative ways to engage people in protecting and restoring their local freshwaters. Through Blue Spaces – Wales, we want to find and support organisations to develop their ideas and explore their potential to become longer-term, sustainable place-based initiatives.

We’re offering grants of £10,000 to £60,000 to support organisations to develop their ideas. We’re looking to support work that:

  • Aims to improve freshwater habitats and species in a place.
  • Engages with and is shaped by the diverse communities in a place particularly those who experience discrimination or face barriers to accessing nature, as well as landowners, land managers and farmers.
  • Involves new and unusual collaborations and ambitious partnerships, engaging with local communities and a range of charity, public sector or corporate stakeholders.
  • Has benefits for people and communities – for example: flood risk management, opportunities for access to and enjoyment of freshwater, engaging in citizen science, links to community-led regeneration and enterprise.
  • Is ambitious and has a longer-term vision to deliver, or is seeking resources to co-create a vision with communities and partners.
  • Has the potential to leverage partnership funding to develop innovative approaches to funding (including private investment).
  • Is pioneering by breaking new ground, or using tried and tested models to push things forward in a new way.

Blue Spaces – Wales funding in brief
What we’re offering
  • Grant size: £10,000 to £60,000
  • Terms: grants awarded should be spent within a year
  • We are also developing a learning approach to support and facilitate learning for funded projects, and sharing what we learn more widely.Blue Spaces - Wales: FAQs
Who can apply
  • Organisations whose work is legally charitable including:
    • Registered charities
    • Social enterprises, Community businesses (e.g. Community Interest Companies) and other organisations with an asset lock clause in their constitution to protect against private gain.
  • Projects working primarily in Wales (although elements may be cross-border with England)

See our FAQs for the full list of eligibility criteria.

How to apply

Updated 3 May 2023: Please note we are now closed to expressions of interest. Thank you for your interest.

Watch our Q&A webinar

We hosted a Q&A webinar on 21 March where the team shared our thinking behind the Blue Spaces programme, what we hope to achieve and what we’re looking to support.

Download the presentation slides for the webinar

You can also find further information in our FAQs. And if you still have a question, please email:

Communicating with Esmée in Welsh

Unfortunately, we do not have a Welsh speaker on our staff, but we will use a translation service (Cymen) to translate applications into English for us so we can consider your plans. Please note that we will not be sharing any personal or organisational information, and your information will be kept confidential.

If we invite you for a phone call to discuss your application further, and you are not able to do this in English, we can use Cymen to support simultaneous translation. But if you already have a translator that you would prefer to use, we can accommodate that and cover any additional costs required. We are also happy to hear from you about how best to support you during the application process as well as during the funding period, should your application be successful. If you have any questions about this, please email us at

River Dee, Wales.jpg

Watch our Blue Spaces - Wales Q&A webinar

Find out more

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