Workshop 1: Our Natural World

Watch our workshop where the Esmée Team share more information about the impact goals and priorities in Our Natural World. You can also see the accompanying slides and answers to questions we weren't able to cover during the session.

The panel includes:
  • Liam McAleese, Director - Our Natural World
  • Jenny Dadd, Funding Manager and Our Natural World Lead
  • Simon Wightman, Funding Manager
  • Matthew Cox, Investment Director

More Q&A

Below, you can find Q&As we didn't manage to get to during our webinar. Do also see our FAQs.

We are a sustainable local food enterprise and mental health charity (a six-acre therapeutic horticulture setting), so our growth and replication ambitions and prospective partnerships would fulfil the outcome of more people having access to buy local food, and our mental health mission would cross over into other strands. The nature-friendly farming strand however seems very much about transforming larger scale traditional farming methods and habitats though. Is this still where we would sit best as we are already an organic nature-friendly farm.

To have a strong fit under Our Natural World, we would have to be confident that the work would have impact beyond the immediate beneficiaries. We receive a lot of applications to support local growing initiatives and many are great projects, but we can't support them when the benefit is only local.

We are a local growing project working with communities and in particular those facing disadvantage. We provide education and skills development support and encourage local volunteers to engage with us in response to local needs. Biodiversity and habitat protection are important aspects of our work. We want to engage more broadly with corporates and improve our longer-term sustainability. I am concerned that you are looking to support groundbreaking projects, but I am unsure just how groundbreaking we would need to be and how this would be judged.

Groundbreaking can be a term that is interpreted in different ways. We are looking for novel and innovative work that has the potential for wider replication. There is a lot of very good, localised work which does not have this ambition - that is not to say it is not very important, but it is not what the Foundation tends to support.

We are planning a project working to save and protect severely endangered invertebrates (in some cases last few recorded species in country) on the coast in South Devon. We have already got a partnership of the AONB / local govt / charities and local communities signed up as well as landowners. We are working with farmers to improve wildfowler meadow areas as forage as well as access orgs for the coast path. How does the overlap with stewardship work for the farmers in agreements? Space is a real issue with coastal erosion and nowhere for the species to retreat if the land is not managed in a compatible way. There are obvious issues with productivity and conservation. If farmers are not in stewardship agreements, can the funding be used to support their improvement works?

It is unlikely that we would replicate payments to farmers that would have been available through a stewardship agreement, not least because it isn't clear how the support would be continued after a grant came to an end. We also have restrictions on capital funding that might be relevant here.

Are there further opportunities to apply for funding to the Defra/EA/EF funding?

No, that was a one off and the sort of work we're supporting there has arguably been picked up in England by the Government's Investment Readiness Fund. If you have a great idea for bringing funds in to restore nature but aren't at the stage where you can apply to the IRF, if your work is in a part of the UK where that support is not available, and it aligns with our strategic priorities then do consider applying for funding from us.

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