Earth Trust secures £1m funding from Local Enterprise Partnership
Earth Trust is thrilled to announce we have received a pledge for £1,000,000 of funding via the Government’s Local Growth Fund, secured by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP). The funding will enable us to start work on the new Earth Lab and Innovation Hub buildings this spring. This forms part of our much larger innovative Gateway Programme which will engage and inspire people to care for the environment. This first project will demonstrate sustainable construction, environmental education and support environmentally aware businesses through leading by example.
This funding will enable us to build a new, environmentally friendly education centre – Earth Lab – and develop an existing barn into an Innovation Hub. Work will begin in early 2020 and once completed will enable Earth Trust to further deliver its charitable objectives to involve people of all ages with the environment and climate change through access to natural green spaces.
Lee Ann Norris, Head of Fundraising at Earth Trust said: “We are extremely grateful to OxLEP for their outstanding support, and we are continuing to seek further funds to complete this vital first phase. We have received £1.43 million so far and need to raise a further £597,685 to complete the Earth Lab and Innovation Hub. This is an exciting time to be a part of the Earth Trust.”
Earth Lab will provide flexible classroom space enabling us to deliver STEM and art based environmental education, improving the skills and confidence of people of all ages. This development will offer significant opportunities to help bring people together, to discover what they can do to care for environmental ecosystems, vital for the future of our planet. Earth Lab will double our capacity to engage young people and provide opportunities for bringing environmental science to life throughout the curriculum.
The Innovation Hub will offer multi-use business units for sustainability conscious businesses as well as an inspiring welcome for visitors to the Earth Trust Farm, including the Wittenham Clumps.
Interactive activities throughout will help visitors discover and explore the rich history of the surrounding landscape in new and relevant ways, whilst prompting them to consider their own role in ensuring we all benefit from healthy ecosystems. The result will be a generation that actively values and cares for their planet.
CEO Jayne Manley commented: “The funding award from the Local Growth Fund, secured by OxLEP, demonstrates that they support our vision for a better future for the environment in Oxfordshire, where people play a major role in determining the health of their local communities and our planet. We believe that the Earth Lab and the Innovation Hub will catalyse creative thinking and debate as we work together to address the enormous biodiversity and climate emergency challenges we face.”
“We are delighted to have secured such a major Local Growth Fund allocation for Earth Trust and we are sure it can be real asset to Oxfordshire and our communities too.”
Nigel Tipple, OxLEP Chief Executive
Nigel Tipple, OxLEP Chief Executive said: “The confirmation of such a significant project – that will have such a positive impact on our environment and the people that engage with it – is excellent news.”
Since its inception in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured over £650m-worth of government funding for Oxfordshire, which has seen more than 50,000 new jobs created in the county to date.
Construction of the Earth Lab and the Innovation Hub commence spring 2020.