New funding for youth-led nature projects

25 April 2022

New funding for a unique environmental programme, designed by young people for young people, has been announced by NatureScot today.

Anyone between 11 and 26 can apply to the Future Routes Fund with project ideas that directly connect young people with nature. The aim is to increase the number of young people who connect with nature and empower them to take positive actions towards reducing biodiversity loss and climate change. NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, will then take the learning and good practice gained from these projects to inform the future development of larger funding programmes.

NatureScot is launching the next round of the scheme with £20,000 in funding. The fund was closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, but its return seeks to remove some of the barriers that prevent young people from engaging with nature and provide support for those who wish to take positive action. It also aims to help reduce levels of eco-anxiety in young people following the lockdowns they have experienced over the past two years, by allowing them to once again feel part of the natural world.

NatureScot welcomes young people to come up with innovative ideas to encourage young people to enjoy and learn about nature. The application period runs until 29th May.

If people are interested in creating a project but need advice on how to carry it out, they are encouraged to submit their idea with as much information as possible. Applicants can fill out a form, or send in a video or voice recording. They will then be reviewed by a panel of young people who will select the projects that they think will be the most beneficial to fellow young people and their communities.

The Future Routes Fund was originally created by Scotland's youth biodiversity panel, ReRoute. The young people on the ReRoute panel developed the aims, outcomes and criteria for fund in collaboration with NatureScot and Young Scot. They designed it to be for the benefit of young people and easy to apply for.

NatureScot Biodiversity and Climate Change Engagement Officer, Abi Gardner: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw young people value nature more and more, and, it is vital that we continue to support everyone to feel engaged and empowered to take positive action for nature and the environment. It’s so important to reduce barriers to accessing greenspaces and equip young Scots to be leaders in addressing the twin challenges of the climate and biodiversity crises.

“The Future Routes Fund welcomes ideas from young people for young people and their communities. We look forward to seeing the imagination and creativity behind the applications for 2022, and helping them become a reality.”

The Future Routes Fund was launched in 2018 as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People, with £100,000 available over five years for young people to deliver activities, projects and ideas which 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 of between £500 to £2,000, while teams can apply for £1,000 to £5,000.