Flexible Childcare Services Scotland has been awarded ‘Nature Hubs’ grant

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) has today been announced as one of 100 winners nationwide of The Nature Hubs Fund, a new initiative that aims to widen community access to green spaces. Hubbub and Starbucks received over 600 submissions for funding when they announced the Nature Hubs grant applications were open for applicants in November 2023.

The grants, awarded by environmental charity Hubbub and funded by Starbucks, have been allocated to community groups and projects that will increase local access to green space, upskill communities, bring people together in nature and / or build climate resilience. In total, over £560,000 in grants is being awarded to 100 Nature Hubs projects across Great Britain with the aim of bringing nature closer to people and people closer to nature.

FCSS will use the funding to enhance their outdoor space to create a kitchen garden and sensory area for the children using their services and the wider Fintry community.

Once the garden is established, fruit and vegetables will be grown by the community which will supply fresh produce to the local food bank and families in need. Not only will this help reduce food poverty, but it will also enable community members to experience the health and wellbeing benefits associated with growing food in nature. The garden will also help educate children on the farm to fork journey and where their food comes from. There will also be opportunities for recycling, reusing, repairing, and compost making which will positively impact the environment.

The garden and community space will serve as a play area for local children, providing valuable green space and accessible outdoor opportunities for families to enjoy. Few local people have their own gardens and there’s a lack of safe outdoor spaces where children can play. The Nature Hub will provide a safe green space for children and families to relax in nature. The hope is that increasing access to green space for the local community through the Nature Hub will help improve wellbeing and boost resilience by fostering stronger local connections.

Susan McGhee, CEO, FCSS said: “We’re so grateful for this funding, which will benefit so many members of the community including local children, families, third sector and community groups, schools and care homes. We’ll be offering open sessions that draw on the ‘public living room’ movement, as well as offering curated sessions from gardening and DIY to twilight cookouts. Our local community feel strongly about the redevelopment of the site, and we are so excited to bring our vision to life for them.”

Gavin Ellis, Co-founder at Hubbub said: “Access to safe and inclusive green spaces, particularly in urban areas, is so critical to our mental, physical and social wellbeing. Improving the green spaces in our towns and cities also helps to improve biodiversity, cool our streets and provide fantastic opportunities to grow fresh produce. The Nature Hubs initiative is designed to make these natural spaces – and the many wonderful ways to engage in environmental activities within them – much more accessible for everyone.

“We received so many incredible applications from community groups across Great Britain and are really excited to work with all of our new Nature Hubs partners to see the impact that these varied and ambitious plans will have on local communities.”

The Nature Hubs scheme is funded by Starbucks and is part of Hubbub and Starbucks’ wider ambition to build stronger, greener communities across the UK. The fund aims to improve access and connection to nature in the communities Starbucks serves, by creating green spaces within a 5km radius of Starbucks stores.