SALC Newsletter 22nd June 2023

Extended duty to enhance biodiversity 

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 puts a duty on public authorities in England to have regard to conserving biodiversity as part of their policy and decision making.

The Environment Act 2021 has made changes to the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 in respect of biodiversity. The duty to have regard to biodiversity has been reinforced so that councils, including parish and town councils, must consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

The government has issued guidance on complying with the duty and asks councils to agree policies and objectives as soon as possible, with completion of their first consideration of what action to take for biodiversity by 1 January 2024.

Parish and town councils can meet their duty by including biodiversity when they develop and put into practice policies and strategies, and through how they manage their land and buildings.

Section 40A of the 2006 Act places a duty on principal authorities to produce biodiversity reports – this duty does not apply to parish and town councils.

Wedmore Parish Council donates £500 SALC winnings to local environmental group

Wedmore PC was one of fifty-seven councils that responded to SALC’s health & wellbeing survey between October to December 2022. The parish council’s participation in the survey won it £500 towards a community project of the parish council’s choosing. The winnings will be used to support the work of the group, Green Wedmore, as it helps young people to access nature-based social activities and reduce isolation.

(photo R-L) Ann Diment, Health & Wellbeing Officer, presents cheque to Parish Clerk Lindsey Baker, chairperson Cllr Jacky Farley, and representatives from Green Wedmore.  

The health & wellbeing survey was set up to help SALC understand the health and wellbeing needs of communities across Somerset. The data gathered has been used to inform our programme of training and support for town and parish councils.

Grant funding applications are now invited from councils for projects led by community need, and for issues relating to reducing inequalities in health and wellbeing – the online application process can be found here.

Somerset Local Nature Partnership – for improved health & wellbeing

The Somerset Local Nature Partnership is working with partners across the county to promote and invest in nature-based approaches to health and social care.

The Partnership was delighted to work with ‘Here, Now Films’ to produce a short film sharing the benefits of nature connection and green social prescribing. The SLNP states, “The interconnected crisis we find ourselves in calls for a vital response that acts holistically for the benefit of wellness for both people and planet. Whether you live in the city or countryside, regular contact and connection with the natural world can have a meaningful impact on health and wellbeing.” Please follow this link to the film.

D-Day 80: 6th June 2024

Communities are encouraged to take part in the commemorations of the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings next year by lighting a beacon at 9.15pm on 6th June 2024. The beacon represents the ‘light of peace’ that emerged from the darkness of war. 

The official ‘Guide To Taking Part’ in the event, with a message from the Prime Minister on page 3, is available on the SALC website news page.

Remember to plan for safety at your event.

With summer in full swing, many councils are planning fetes and summer parties. This is the time when a council should ensure it knows its role and responsibilities as an event organiser. BHIB Councils Insurance has published a handy article to remind you of your responsibilities, including the preparation of risk assessments. 

For those councils already looking forward to autumn events, Somerset Council and Avon & Somerset Police have written a Remembrance Day Road Closure Guide, which is useful for councils arranging civic, Remembrance, and other events as the event organisers. The guide can also be downloaded from the members’ LTNs & Guidance page of the SALC website.

Somerset Council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG) offers a helpful resource for event organisers planning events that are open to the public and are staged in a public place, on a highway, or on private, or council owned land in Somerset. SAG reminds us that an event organiser will have prime responsibility for protecting the health, safety and welfare of everyone working at or attending an event. 

If you are planning to hold an event and you would like advice, call 0300123 2224 or 


Somerset Cost-of-Living Fund

The Somerset Cost-of-Living Fund is here to help reduce the additional financial impacts of the cost-of-living crisis on your organisation. This may be a combination of the following:

  • meeting rising demand for your service from people experiencing poverty
  • covering increased running costs caused by inflation, like heating a building or providing transport
  • subsidising services you usually charge for to remove barriers to people who are struggling to afford or access them

Ask SCF for between £1,000 and £10,000 for costs you have between September 2023 and March 2024. The expected average grant is about £5,000.
Click here to apply by Friday 21 July and SCF will let you in late August 2023 whether it can help.

Hunt’s Food Group supports poverty, mental health, and young people with £130K grants

Major food distributor and wholesaler Hunt’s Food Group, based in Sherborne with several sites across Somerset, is partnering with Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) and Dorset Community Foundation to launch the Hunt’s Food Group Community Fund.

The new charitable giving fund is guided by three strategic themes to help meet local need: relieving poverty and disadvantage; improving mental health and wellbeing; and investing in the next generation. The Fund has just awarded its first grants totaling over £130,000, supporting five charities across Somerset and Dorset:  

  • St. Peter’s Community Centre, Yeovil, Somerset: to support a community hub in the Westfield district
  • Yeovil Opportunity Group, Somerset: to provide support for children with additional needs and their families
  • Escapeline: to support children in Somerset and Dorset who are affected by county lines drugs gangs

You can also find the full version of this news story on SCF’s website, here.

To see the all the grant programmes that are available visit Somerset Community Foundation’s ‘Grants to Groups’ webpage

Reminder to submit your planning case study to NALC

NALC is collating a planning case study document to compliment its existing good practice case study documents: Climate ChangeYoung People and Points of Light. Parish and town councils with experience of planning, particularly in the following areas, are asked to submit a short case study here by 27 June.

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