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Lakes Distillery makes splash with six water projects

Six community projects have received a funding splash to help them look after lakes and rivers across Cumbria.

The Lake District Foundation joined forces with The Lakes Distillery to launch a £25k funding pot for projects that enhance and conserve water quality.

Six projects across the county have now been selected to receive funding from The Lakes Distillery Water Fund.

Lake District Diving will get funding

Sarah Smith, Lake District Foundation Operations Manager, said: “We are delighted to partner with The Lakes Distillery to support six fantastic community-led projects in the Lake District. Each are different but are all designed to make a lasting improvements to water quality in our rivers and lakes.”

Nigel Mills, co-founder and CEO at The Lakes Distillery, said: “It is fantastic that we have an opportunity to support these community projects and to help them deliver against what are very important environmental aims.

“We look forward to seeing the projects get underway and our team at the distillery is also very excited to get directly involved by volunteering and helping to deliver some of these schemes.”

Clean River Kent Campaign will get funding

Isobel Stoddart is chair at The Clean River Kent Campaign which has been awarded £3250 from the fund.

She said: “We are delighted to receive funding to continue our volunteer monitoring work to help protect and preserve the ecology of the River Kent, as well as those that enjoy using it.

“This funding will enable us to get a much deeper understanding of the water quality along the length of our precious river.”

West Cumbria Rivers Trust

The Lakes Distillery Water Fund is one of several initiatives taking place this year across Cumbria to look after lakes and rivers.

Projects supported by Lakes Distillery Fund:

Organisation: Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Project: Habitat restoration at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve

Funding: £5000

Description: The work will involve reducing soil erosion, improving water quality, enhancing biodiversity, creating habitats and slowing water flow into Naddles Beck protecting communities, streams, rivers and lakes further downstream.

Organisation: Lake District Diving

Project: Cleaning Up Litter Hidden in our Lakes and Rivers

Funding: £2000

Description: Working with community and volunteers to remove litter from lakes and rivers in the Lake District. Working mainly at Windermere but also Rydal, Grasmere, Derwentwater, Ullswater, River Kent, and mountain tarns.

Organisation: Spring to Sea

Project: The Becks of Ullswater – tackling micro plastic pollution

Funding: £4750

Description: Spring To Sea is a community interest group. It intends to clean any plastic pollution from the becks running into Ullswater with the help of local volunteers.

Organisation: Sustainability and Energy Network, Staveley

Project: Clean River Kent Campaign

Funding: £3250

Description: A community coalition from Staveley, Burneside and Kendal will apply for bathing water designation for two River Kent sites, to protect water-based recreational users from sewage health hazards and bring wildlife benefits.

Organisation: Lake District National Park Authority

Project: Bassenthwaite for all

Funding: £5000

Description: To support a two-year project focusing on Bassenthwaite Lake. Habitat management – willow coppicing and improving the lakeshore habitats, establishing a new volunteer group, working with new and existing audiences to raise awareness of biosecurity measures, holding litter picks.

Organisation: West Cumbria Rivers Trust

Project: Data for the Derwent

Funding: £5000

Project: Himalayan Balsam removal and fish surveys that inform future conservation work.

“We are morally bound to preserve this way of life”

The Lake District Foundation has joined forces with The Lakes Distillery to launch a £25k funding pot for projects that enhance and conserve water quality.

The Lakes Distillery Water Fund is designed to support community and volunteer-led groups in their efforts to deliver water quality projects.

As the deadline for applications fast approaches (21 March 2022) we speak to Lakes Distillery co-founder and CEO Nigel Mills about the fund and why his company is so passionate about water quality…

Nigel Mills

How excited are you to launch The Lakes Distillery Water fund?

We are delighted to work with the Lake District Foundation on a fund which is designed to improve water quality in this wonderful part of the world.

We are really looking forward to receiving applications from community groups who have a passion for improving water quality throughout the Lake District National Park.

Why was The Lakes Distillery so keen to launch the Water Fund?

As a business nestled on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake, our sense of responsibility is long-standing, but we didn’t think that trying to do good within the distillery alone was nearly enough.

We believe that the smartest way to drive positive change is by coming together and working in partnership where there is a common goal.

That is why we have joined forces with The Lake District Foundation to launch a collaboration we hope will have an impact for years to come. And we are excited to be able to support the fantastic work Sarah and the team at The Foundation do to protect and care for our National Park.

Why is The Lake Distillery so passionate about water quality?

All distilleries have a creation story, that moment of inspiration when someone decides they need to make whisky.

When that happens, there are three fundamental things they will need to succeed: lots of cold, clean water, space for storing whisky casks, and easy access to the market.

The Lake District has all of these in abundance and provides a beautiful and serene environment where creativity can flourish.

With our home rooted here, we are not only passionate about helping to protect it, but are morally bound to do all we can to preserve this way of life, including the quality of our rivers and lakes.

What kinds of water projects would you like to support?

We are in the early stages of this process in that we have asked for applications and are still waiting to see the requests. The most apparent thing for us is that we want to see projects driven by a desire to improve the water quality of our lakes and rivers.

How creative people are with the brief is up to them. We are set to look at applications at the end of March and can’t wait to see what great ideas the people of Cumbria come up with.

And your staff will also be getting involved?

The Lakes Distillery Water Fund has been made possible by the fundraising efforts of people from all areas of our business. The commitment is already company-wide, and I know the team are delighted that they are going to get the chance to be involved in supporting the successful projects first-hand.

We want to encourage positive change and so it goes beyond simply offering financial support to water improvement projects; we also want to play an active role in delivering them.

That is why each one of our team has been granted the opportunity to donate some of their time to support community and volunteer-led groups in their efforts to deliver these water quality schemes.

What would you say to community groups considering applying?

If you are considering applying for the Water Fund, we’d recommend you get moving with your application as the deadline of 21 March is fast approaching and we can’t wait to try and help you.

Apply here:

Lakes Distillery Water Fund must be received by 5pm Monday 22 March.

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