Glimpsing a greener future in Westminster

By Paul Windo

No one will protect what they don’t care about. No one will care about what they have never experienced.
Sir David Attenborough

This quote sums up why the Grosvenor Greener Futures Fund exists. The fund is part of the wider Greener Futures initiative, in partnership with City of Westminster, Westminster Foundation, Groundworks and The London Community Foundation. The goals of the initiative are to support jobs and training in the green economy, enable community-led climate action and improve young people’s access to nature across Westminster.

We were delighted to spend the afternoon with Grosvenor last week, as they showcased their Greener Futures initiative. Local people gathered with likeminded organisations and funders to reflect on what has already been achieved and to explore the upcoming opportunities to create better, greener neighbourhoods in Westminster.

The Grosvenor Greener Futures in Westminster event in full swing (Photo: The London Community Foundation)

So far Grosvenor have funded 40 projects, with 35000 people impacted and 2000 households participating in environmental projects. 500 new habitats have been created as well as helped 28 people to find long-term employment and a further 46 that have gained qualifications. This afternoon event gave plenty of insight into Grosvenor’s vision as well as the chance to hear directly from three of the recipients of The Greener Futures Fund.

Grand Junction, a Paddington Development Trust project, run a weekly Green Kids Club at the centre – a Grade 1 listed neo-gothic church building in Paddington that has been opened up as a venue with a lively community and arts programme. There are four primary schools within a 2 minute walk of Grand Junction and the Kids Club has seen 83 children attend as well as 208 through 3 workshops per term in the schools themselves. They tackle key environmental issues through a creative lens and get to take part in outings, creative and scientific activities. Many of the children attending don’t have gardens and the schools lack green spaces so the club is a perfect opportunity to learn and ask countless questions. The goal is to nurture junior activists who will consider what they will do differently when they go home and when they go to school, such as writing to their local MPs.

Tom from Green Schools Project, sharing the results of the Greener Futures funding (Photo: The London Community Foundation)
70% of young people feel eco-anxiety but only 4% say they know a lot about climate change...
Green Schools Project research

Green Schools Project provide climate education in schools and exist to empower young people in schools to respond positively to climate change. They do this by delivering a Zero Carbon schools programme – a package of support and resources designed by teachers with 26 sessions of climate education in curriculum time across the school year (Years 4 to 8) all across the UK. They were funded to deliver their high-quality programme in two Westminster schools, which in turn, supports the long term sustainability of those schools. At least 50 pupils took part in their first proper climate education, with 40 teachers taking part in professional development training. Both schools were able to calculate their carbon footprint for the first time and the resulting actions were co-designed with the students themselves.

Trees For Cities are a national charity, funded to deliver their schools programme in 2 Westminster schools. They are transforming these school playgrounds into green spaces. Their initial focus was on recruiting the right schools – a deprived cohorts of pupils, with high proportion of free school meals and a real lack of green spaces onsite (as well as a lack of those spaces offsite, at home, too). Both projects are in early stages of delivery but Trees For Cities are really excited to start digging up the concrete, planting some trees, introducing the schools to food growing and transforming the playgrounds.

We want to say a big thank you to Grosvenor and The London Community Foundation for the funding we received – it is so important to us and makes such a difference.
Trees For Cities
Networking and catch-up conversations at the Greener Futures event. (Photo: The London Community Foundation)

The Grosvenor Greener Futures Fund has already distributed over £423,000 over 2 rounds and the third round is now open for applications. Funding is available for £5k to £20k per year over one or two years and the closing date for applications is Friday 22nd March. Projects supporting communities across Westminster with the following priorities will be considered:

  • Local climate action
  • Positive impact on the local environment
  • Encouraging local people to get involved in grassroots environmental activities
  • Raising awareness of climate change and changing behaviours leading to environmental action
  • Developing and sharing knowledge about the environment with others locally
  • Providing skills, training or job opportunities for local people connected to the climate response
  • Improving access to nature and nature-based climate solutions

To find out more the Greener Futures Fund, visit our web page: