Community Grant Scheme

Community Grant Scheme

Children preparing to take a river kick sample © Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Keen to take action for local chalk streams, but need help to make your idea a reality? The Watercress and Winterbournes Community Grant Scheme is offering funding for projects that protect, enhance, or celebrate the stream headwaters of the Rivers Test and Itchen.

Your project must be run within the stream catchments and based around one of two aims. It could improve the condition of locally important chalk stream habitats, or their associated built heritage. It could also enable people to explore, enjoy and learn about the streams' natural and cultural heritage.

We'd love to hear from passionate groups of people with the drive to bring their vision to life. You might be part of a parish council, a school, a registered charity, or a Community Interest Company. Voluntary and community groups are also welcome, as long as you're constituted and have your own bank account.

This grant scheme forms part of Watercress and Winterbournes, a Landscape Partnership Scheme which is caring for seven local chalk streams. The deadline for the current round of funding is Monday 5 October 2021.

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Check your eligibility

Your project must:

  • Take place within the scheme area.
  • Meet the aims of the scheme, as outlined above.
  • Constitute activities beyond what is usual for your group or organisation.
  • Have specific aims and a defined schedule for completion.
  • Be completed within one calendar year of the grant being awarded.

We can’t fund:

  • Projects delivered by an individual person.
  • Projects delivered on private land where there is no public access or benefit.
  • Works or activities which have already been completed.
  • Core costs such as staff time, office rent, or office equipment.
  • More than one application from the same applicant, within the same year.

Project examples

Need some inspiration? Here are a few examples of projects which would be eligible for our community grants:

  • Restoring chalk stream wildlife habitat.
  • Buying equipment for chalk stream wildlife surveys.
  • Buying equipment for practical conservation work.
  • Enhancing stream-adjacent public spaces.
  • Improving public access to the chalk streams.
  • Celebrating the streams through creative activities.
  • Celebrating the streams through community engagement activities.
  • Exploring stream-related heritage through community engagement activities.
  • Providing stream-related learning and engagement activities for young people.

Plan your project

To qualify for one of our grants, your project must be able to achieve one of the following:

  • Improve the condition of locally important chalk stream habitats and/or their associated built heritage.
  • Enable people to explore, enjoy and learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the chalk streams.

We'll give priority to projects which contribute to one of our scheme's objectives:

  1. Increasing the resilience and quality of our chalk stream biodiversity, reversing species declines and providing a buffer against pressures such as pollution, water extraction, and climate change.
  2. Ensuring that communities play an essential role in caring for their local chalk streams and are equipped to do so.
  3. Ensuring that communities can take steps to improve the health of their chalk streams by eradicating invasive non-native species, reducing identified local pollution sources, and reducing water use.
  4. Ensuring that all members of the community have the opportunity to explore and celebrate their chalk stream heritage.
  5. Enabling land managers to manage their land in a chalk stream-friendly way, whether they are farmers, businesses, councils, angling clubs or residents with streamside gardens.

Funding available

We can fund up to 80% of your project's total value, or up to £5,000 - whichever is lower. Your group or organisation will need to provide 20% of the project's value in the form of cash, volunteer time, or in-kind contributions (we'll advise you on the details of these if your project is eligible).

Our fund for community grants is limited, and we want to enrich the scheme area with a range of different activities. As such, we're looking for projects that vary in scope, scale, and subject matter. Projects seeking high-value grants will need to achieve widespread or prolonged positive impact.

How to apply

Once you've come up with your project idea, fill out the form below to express your interest in receiving a grant. If your project is eligible, we'll invite you to submit a full application and guide you through the process.

We recommend submitting your expression of interest form as early as possible, to ensure that you have enough time to submit a full application before the application deadline of 5 October 2021 (if invited to do so).

Once the deadline has passed, the Watercress and Winterbournes Partnership Board will assess the projects - this is a competitive process, and we'll let you know whether your application has been successful by the decision date.

If you need a little more time to plan your project, you may want to apply for a future round of funding. There will be four rounds in total during 2021 and 2022:

  Application Deadline Decision Date
Round One Monday 10 May 2021 Friday 25 June 2021
Round Two Monday 5 October 2021 Friday 26 November 2021
Round Three Monday 4 April 2022 Friday 27 May 2022
Round Four Monday 3 October 2022 Friday 25 November 2022

Express your interest

Complete the form below to express your interest in receiving a grant. We recommend submitting this as early as possible, so you have enough time to submit a full application before the deadline of 5 October 2021 (if invited to do so).

Make sure you have read all the information above carefully, as we can't consider projects which are ineligible or don't support the aims of our scheme. If you experience problems in completing the form, please contact the team on