NATURESCOT today announced new funding for an environmental program, designed by and for young people.
NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, encourages anyone aged 11-26 to apply to the Future Routes Fund with ideas for projects that directly connect young people to nature.
The goal is to increase the number of young people connecting with nature and empowering them to take positive action to reduce biodiversity loss and climate change.
The agency will then use the lessons and good practices learned from these projects to inform the future development of larger funding programs.
NatureScot launches the next cycle of the program with funding of £20,000.
The fund was closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, but its return aims to remove some of the barriers that prevent young people from engaging with nature and provide support for those willing to take positive action.
It also aims to help reduce levels of eco-anxiety among young people following the lockdowns they have experienced over the past two years, allowing them to feel part of the natural world again.
NatureScot invites young people to come up with innovative ideas to encourage others to enjoy and experience nature, with the application period running until 29and May.
If people are interested in creating a project but need advice on how to make it happen, they are encouraged to submit their idea with as much information as possible.
Candidates can fill out a form or submit a video or voice recording.
They will then be reviewed by a panel of young people who will select the projects they believe will be most beneficial to other young people and their communities.
The Future Routes Fund was originally set up by the Scottish biodiversity youth panel, ReRoute.
The young people on the ReRoute panel developed the goals, outcomes and funding criteria in collaboration with NatureScot and Young Scot.
Abi Gardner, Head of Biodiversity and Climate Change Engagement at NatureScot: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen young people increasingly value nature.
“It is essential that we continue to help everyone feel engaged and empowered to take positive action for nature and the environment.
“Reducing barriers to accessing green spaces and empowering young Scots to be leaders in tackling the twin challenges of the climate and biodiversity crises is so important.
“The Future Routes Fund welcomes ideas from young people for young people and their communities.
“We can’t wait to see the imagination and creativity behind apps for 2022, and help them become a reality.”
The Future Routes Fund was launched in 2018 as part of the Scottish Year of Young People, with £100,000 available over five years for young people to come up with activities, projects and ideas that engage their peers with nature.
The fund is open to young people living in Scotland aged 11-26 and has been designed by ReRoute to be supportive and accessible.
Individuals can apply for funding between £500 and £2,000, while teams can apply for £1,000 to £5,000.