Schools urged to make bids for £25,000 funding from Manchester Airport ahead of upcoming deadline
· Manchester Airport’s Community Trust Fund is running a 25th Anniversary Eco-Garden competition, with up to £40,000 to give away to local schools
· Schools invited to bid for £25,000 of funding for a garden or play area, with 2nd place prize of £10,000 and 3rd place prize of £5,000 also on offer
· Applications must be made by Friday 28th October via www.manchesterairport.co.uk/community
Time is running out for Primary schools near Manchester Airport to submit applications to a one-off £25,000 fund to mark the airport Community Trust Fund’s 25th anniversary.
One local primary school will receive the top prize for a new eco-friendly garden or outdoor learning area, whilst a runner-up and third-placed school will receive £10,000 and £5,000 respectively.
Primary schools within the Community Trust Fund’s catchment area – which encompasses roughly a 10-mile radius of the airport, including parts of Trafford, Manchester, Stockport, Tameside and Cheshire – are being invited to submit a proposal for outlining how they would spend the funds, with a deadline for entries of Friday 28th October.
Six finalist schools will be selected, with pupils asked to prepare a pitch to the trustees, which will be delivered at a grand final event under the wings of the Concorde, at the airport’s Runway Visitor Park, to decide the winners.
Entries can be submitted by visiting www.manchesterairport.co.uk/community/working-in-our-community/eco-garden/. Schools should offer a breakdown of how they would spend the funds and a covering letter outlining the difference this would make, also specifying how they would use the project to promote environmental awareness among pupils, whilst enriching the environment and improving biodiversity. The application will include producing a short video of no more than 3 minutes, presented by pupils, summarising the eco-garden proposal and the benefits it will bring.
Selected finalist schools will be contacted by 21st November and will be asked to prepare a 10-minute presentation for the trustees, to be given at the grand final on Tuesday 6th December.
Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director at Manchester Airport, said: “This competition provides a unique opportunity for primary schools in our area to develop an area of their campus that is in need of renovation. Outdoor learning is an important part of primary education and this funding will support projects that will provide a real legacy for pupils. That is why I would encourage schools to get their applications in before the deadline.
“We are proud of the work that the Community Trust Fund has done over the past 25 years and that work will continue. We are committed to ensuring that our neighbouring communities share in the benefits of having a major international airport on their doorstep.”
The Community Trust Fund is overseen by the airport and managed by a committee of independent trustees, formed of local councillors from the six local authority areas which fall within the fund’s catchment area. It provides cash either as a contribution to, or to meet the full cost of, not-for-profit initiatives.
Trustees meet on a quarterly basis to consider pledges up to £3,000, with applications welcomed from community groups or charities based within 10 miles of Manchester Airport. Since its establishment in December 1997, has invested more than £3.5m into worthwhile causes – with some organisations having benefitted from multiple donations in that time.
Friends of Heaton Norris Park, in Stockport, received £2,000 for play equipment in 2012, then were granted around £1,200 for a safety gate in 2016 and received their most recent donation earlier this year, of £1,300 towards a steel framed picnic table, which will be installed this month.
Group organiser Agnes Pimblett (pictured alongside fellow committee member Bernard Kivel) explained; “The grants we received have benefitted the local community enormously and continue to do so.
“We would not have had our play equipment without the grant which continues to benefit park users, but also the mother and toddler groups that use the pavilion. The apparatus is played on daily and has stood the test of time.
“We are lucky in our park, as we have the Cheshire Wildlife based with us, and they recently had an open day to show children and adults the wonderful wildlife in their local park and how to protect it.
“Local enthusiasm for preserving wildlife and wanting to know and do more was so infectious and the children had a wonderful day and learned such a lot.
“It is so important for children, in particular, to take some ownership over their environment and a feeling of being able to contribute, especially in this climate when so many things have been out on their control. What better way to do this than to take part in a competition that will involve so much learning about their environment, and will see them develop their own eco-garden where they will have a voice as to how this is created?”
Another Stockport-based group, Friends of Romiley Park, echoed these sentiments. The group was set up in 2005 and has received four donations for planting and landscaping, railing and picnic tables, totalling around £6,150. Beds that were planted in 2006 with Community Trust Fund grants are still in situ and flourishing.
Alan Smith, the group’s secretary, said: “The benefits of gardens and green spaces to both mental and physical health are massive, and our park is a great example. If schools in my area are considering entering the eco-garden competition, I would encourage them to go for it.”
The 25th Anniversary Eco-Garden competition is running in parallel with the regular quarterly meetings, where new applications for funding will continue to be considered. Information on how to apply for a Community Trust Fund grant, and the full criteria, can be found here.
For more details on the Community Trust Fund, or the 25th Anniversary Eco-Garden competition, please contact the team by email - firstname.lastname@example.org.