Expanding outdoor STEM learning with the Drax Foundation

Julie Young, CEO of Argyll Countryside Trust (ACT) showcases how their work and key funders like the Drax Foundation are helping to make a difference.

By Julie Young, CEO of Argyll Countryside Trust (ACT)

At Argyll Countryside Trust (ACT), we’re dedicated to sustainably maintaining, enhancing and promoting the coast and countryside of Argyll and the Isles. We do this by working in partnership with a range of local communities, public sector and third sector organisations, as well as through our partnership with the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest.

As a social enterprise, core funding is essential, and we are always investigating creative ways to generate income to ensure we can have a long-term impact in Argyll and the Isles. Since 2023, the Drax Foundation, the charitable entity of Drax Group, has been supporting us.

The Drax Foundation was founded in 2023 to give back to the communities in which Drax operates and in its first year of operation, it donated a total of £2.7 million around the world, providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and training for 70,300 children globally and helping almost 21,000 people with access to community green spaces.

In 2023, we were thrilled to be granted two rounds of funding by the Foundation totalling £67k, helping us to expand our outdoor STEM learning to more children, and establish a native tree nursery as a key part of our new Woodland Enterprise Hub. Overall, this funding enabled us to provide 750 children with access to outdoor nature-based learning. We also gathered 11,500 acorns as part of our efforts to expand nature tree species in the area.

More recently, we were delighted to hear that we’re one of 15 global organisations, including 3 Scottish organisations, receiving money in the Drax Foundation’s latest round of funding. We will be receiving almost £41k to continue our work to deliver outdoor STEM learning in Scotland. With this funding, we look to build on our success in 2023, supporting more learners and educators, and working with key partners to firmly establish the benefits of learning in the natural settings of Argyll and Bute.

We thank the Drax Foundation for their support, and we’re looking forward to making a positive difference together.

Learn more about the Drax Foundation here: drax.com/community