A final call is being made by a water company for people to apply for grants that will benefit wildlife and environment groups.

Essex & Suffolk Water, in East Hanningford, offers organisations, voluntary and community groups a chance to receive up to £25,000 through its Branch Out scheme.

Since launching in 2013, the Branch Out scheme has awarded grants worth over £370,000 across over 87 different projects.

Miranda Cooper, conservation and land manager, said: " Since launching in 2013 Branch Out has made a really significant contribution to helping this region build resilience and adapt to the changing climate, whilst benefitting water, wildlife and local communities.”

In September 2018, nearly £40,000 in funding was allocated to eleven projects, including schemes run by Essex Waterways and the Chelmer Canal Trust.

The company was a finalist in the prestigious Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards in 2017, which recognises excellence and innovation in sustainability.

Projects which receive Branch Out funding can also be supported by ‘Just an Hour', Essex & Suffolk Water Water's employee volunteering programme.

Last year the RSPB made a successful application, receiving £10,700 to help build the Flatford Wildlife Garden, in East Bergholt, Essex..

RSPB warden Shirley Sampson said: "The grant from Essex & Suffolk Water's Branch Out scheme will help us to truly realise the potential of Flatford Wildlife Garden and provide a wonderful experience for everyone who comes to visit it.

“Key to this is our new 7,500 litre underground water tank which will be used to store rainwater that is harvested from the roof of the barn. This will help us to improve water consumption as the water collected can be used to feed the pond and water the garden.

"The grant we secured from Branch Out has been extremely valuable to us, and I would recommend the scheme to other local organisations who have environmental projects which require additional funding.”

The deadline to submit applications is Thursday, February 28, for more information visit www.branchout-esw.co.uk