River Schools Project Launches in the Black Country!


Children from Caslon Primary Community School have been enjoying time outside helping nature by planting hundreds of trees in their playing field. This was the launch of an exciting new project led by Severn Rivers Trust.

The project has been awarded £199,500 from the Severn Trent Community Fund, which provides grant money to improve the three elements of community wellbeing – people, places and environment. Match funding of £55,000 will come from the Department for Education’s SuDS in Schools fund. This means work can begin on an education and physical infrastructure programme to help local young people from urban areas in the Black Country discover their rivers and take action to protect them. Four schools will be taking part in assemblies, classroom-based workshops, riverside visits, and community celebrations. Children will not only gain skills, they will boost their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing too.

The Severn Rivers Trust is a charity made up of local river experts, which covers the whole of the UK’s longest river from source to sea. The Trust’s vision is: ‘A healthy, resilient river Severn for everyone.’  They are an active team, working hard to make things happen on the ground to bring about a real and positive difference for the river and its communities.

Becky Titchard, River Engagement Officer at Severn Rivers Trust is running the activities in schools. She said:

The children were so enthusiastic, and every pupil took part. We planted a mix of native tree saplings including hazel, crab apple and beech. These will provide food sources and habitat for a range of birds insects and mammals. The school can also use the branches leaves and berries for craft and play activities as part of their Forest School. Not only this, the roots of the hedgerow trees will help soak up water as it runs down the slope of the field, helping protect the school buildings and playground from surface water flooding. With more features planned like rain gardens, water butts, attenuation ponds, green-roof structures, and mini-woodlands, the selected schools – and their pupils – will be river-friendly in more ways than one.

Alice Fallon, Head of Community Engagement at Severn Rivers Trust said:

We are so excited to be bringing our learning programme to schools in the Black Country. We’re transforming buildings and playgrounds into river-friendly spaces that are also great places for children and teachers to spend time. Pupils will build confidence and skills by taking part in our assemblies and workshops. They will also be a part of the change – through things like planting trees, helping design gardens and painting murals they will be taking action to make their schools greener and more sustainable, and ultimately improve the health of their rivers. We are hoping to expand and grow this programme, so if you have a contact for a local school that wants to get involved then please contact us! For more information or questions about this project email: admin@severnriverstrust.com

Natalie Cunningham, Community Fund Officer at Severn Trent, said:

Encouraging children to learn about the environment by getting outside and playing an active role in conservation and improvement of their school is a great way to get them interested and we’re really thrilled to have been able to fund this fantastic project.

Applications are currently open for the next wave of funding, so we would encourage any group or organisation that feels they might benefit from Community Fund support to get in touch at stwater.co.uk/communityfund


Alice Fallon, Head of Community Engagement, telephone number 07719 020949 or email: alice.fallon@severnriverstrust.com

More pictures are available upon request.


Notes to Editors: 

About Severn Rivers Trust

The Severn Rivers Trust are an independent environmental charity established in 2008 to protect and enhance the river Severn, its tributaries and streams. The Severn Rivers Trust is the only organisation that covers the whole of the UK’s longest river in both England and Wales. Our staff have an intimate understanding of the region, and the needs of the freshwater environments. We’re proactive and hands on, working with farmers, land managers and communities to deliver ecological restoration at a local level, with landscape-wide impacts.

About the Severn Trent Community Fund 

From 2020, Severn Trent is giving away £10 million over five years through its Community Fund to support local projects, charities and community groups in the Severn Trent region – helping to make a real and tangible difference to the wellbeing in our communities. The Community Fund is overseen by an independent panel, made up of Severn Trent customers, who review applications and make the final decisions on where the money will go.   ‍

The Severn Trent Community Fund looks to support projects that aim to improve community wellbeing, focusing on three elements:

  • People: projects that help people to lead a healthier life and gain new skills
  • Places: projects that help to create better places to live in and use
  • Environment: projects that will help look after our natural environment, give people greater access to that environment or help look after water.


About the Department for Education’s SuDS in Schools project

The Department for Education’s Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in schools project provides grants for work to achieve the following objectives:

  • To reduce the surface water risk on school sites.
  • To provide educational benefits on sustainability and climate change,
  • To increase biodiversity on school sites through blue or green infrastructure, and
  • Successfully project manage the design and installation of agreed SuDs features on the school site.

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