Applications are now open to people from Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian to undertake a free skills development course over the next six months focused on taking action for nature.
The course, delivered as part of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Nextdoor Nature project, will provide participants with the skills, resources and confidence needed to organise action for nature where they live.
Involving a combination of online learning, interactive webinars and in-person events, each participant is supported to deliver a project that benefits wildlife and people in their community. Projects from past participants have included building community gardens, installing wildlife trails and improving valuable river habitats.
This will be the fourth cohort to go through the Pioneers Programme, with previous cohorts focused on communities in Greater Glasgow, the Forth Valley and between Dundee and Aberdeen.
Pete Haskell, Head of Communications and Engagement at the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “Thanks to a project extension to the end of October 2024, we’re delighted to be able to open up applications to residents in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
“Through the Pioneers Programme, we are providing participants with the broad range of skills and understanding required to mobilise their communities to take action for nature. Taking this community organising approach to our engagement work will mean a longer lasting impact in a larger number of places across Scotland.”
As well as having a positive impact on nature, empowering communities to take action in this way will provide other benefits. These include improved health and wellbeing of those involved and a greater sense of community pride and spirit in the local area.
The Nextdoor Nature Pioneers Programme is made possible thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We have provided support to this pioneering project because communities and nature are at the heart of it. It is so important that local communities take an active role in environmental projects and provide inspiration to others to get involved and care for our precious natural heritage. We wish all the participants well and are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, their vital work will form part of a lasting legacy for the Jubilee year.”
“It is great being connected with other like-minded people, sharing learning and experience. The staff have all been very welcoming and organised. They listen, encourage and are full of enthusiasm. I feel it has been a very positive learning environment.”
You can apply for the fourth cohort of Nextdoor Nature Pioneers here.