Sheffield environmental charity welcomes new patron Joanna Lumley OBE, FRGS and receives £62,600 boost
A Sheffield charity recently announced that Joanna Lumley OBE, FRGS was its new patron, shortly before it was awarded a share of the Government’s £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
Sheffield Environmental Movement - which works to connect BAMER groups with nature - is one of 68 organisations in the country to benefit from the fund, which is in partnership with Defra and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The scheme is part of the Government’s 25 year environment plan and aims to create up to 3,000 jobs and safeguard up to 2,000 others in areas such as protecting species, finding nature-based solutions to tackling climate change, conservation rangers and connecting people with nature.
Joseph Saverimoutou, chair of SEM, said: “Access to nature is an essential component of public health and mental health - the more reason why this award is so important to facilitate the reconnection of BAMER groups to greenspace.”
Mr Saverimoutou believes access to a healthy and safe outdoor experience is ‘arguably the basis of public health’ and with Ms Lumley as a patron, it is hoped that her passion can help create change.
He added: “The support of Ms Lumley and her acknowledgement of SEM will be key in helping us raise awareness of the work of our charity.”
Maxwell Ayamba, project coordinator at SEM, believes that science provides evidence of how we ‘urgently’ need access to nature, and Covid-19 has contributed to underline this theory.
He said: “The intersectionality of socio-economic factors had an impact on marginalised groups accessing greenspace and the award will put SEM in a stronger experienced-led position to work with environmental organisations to understand the links between structurally marginalised groups such as BAMER and barriers accessing greenspace and countryside.”
“The award will help SEM raise awareness on the causal relationships between structural oppression and barriers in accessing the benefits of greenspace and countryside for health/wellbeing or leisure/recreation, but in addition, create opportunities for volunteering, apprenticeships and jobs,” Mr Ayamba added.
David Renwick, North of England area director for the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Fantastic news for nature in the North with the award of £62,600 to Sheffield Environmental Movement through DEFRA for their reconnecting BAMER communities to green spaces for health and wellbeing.”
For more information about SEM, see: www.semcharity.org.uk/