Grants of up to £500 are on offer to help green-fingered folk make a difference to County Durham.

As part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) It’s Your Neighbourhood (IYN) campaign, Durham County Council is offering up to £500 worth of funding, to a maximum of 15 community groups, in an effort to encourage volunteers to take part in environmental improvement projects.

The Community Grant Scheme, led by the council’s Civic Pride team, will enable small groups to get involved in projects which will also complement the work of local RHS Northumbria in Bloom and Britain in Bloom teams.

Schemes in the 3 Towns Area Action Partnership (AAP) catchment will be funded by that body.

Projects must make a positive change to an area where people live, work or spend their leisure time and meet the three core pillars of the RHS scheme:

• Community participation

• Environmental respon-sibility – promoting respect for the local environment and encouraging people to take ownership of it

• Gardening achievement.

Additionally, all projects must be located within County Durham.

Scheme ideas could include cleaning up and greening up a local area, planting flowers, working with a local school on an eco-project, helping older or vulnerable groups to enhance their natural environment or transforming a community centre outdoor space.

Ian Hoult, the council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “We’re always impressed by the fantastic improvements that are inspired by the community grant scheme and the IYN competition.

“It is a great opportunity to get people together, brighten up their local neighbourhoods and help County Durham shine.

“Our Civic Pride team will support successful groups in delivering their desired project and help them enter the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood competition – where I’m sure they’ll get great results.”

Projects must be delivered during spring/summer 2018 in order to be eligible for a grant.

Community groups do not need to be a registered charity to apply.

Groups which were awarded funding last year can apply again to develop their schemes further, however new applicants will be given preference.

Forms and guidance notes can be downloaded at Alternatively people can request an application pack by emailing or by calling 03000 26 0000 to order one by post.

Complete applications can be returned by email to or by post to:

Durham County Council

RHS IYN Community Grant Scheme

Civic Pride Team

Chilton Depot

Chilton Industrial Estate

Co Durham, DL17 0SD.

The closing date is Friday, 8th December.