Manchester Airport Marks 25 Years of its Community Trust Fund with £25,000 top prize for schools contest, as part of a £40,000 giveaway

Manchester Airport Managing Director Chris Woodroofe (C), Cllr Sam Naylor (L) and the Airport’s Head of Community Engagement Rob Pattison (R)
  • Schools invited to bid for £25,000 of funding for a garden, play area or outdoor learning space, with 2nd place prize of £10,000 and 3rd place prize of £5,000 also on offer
  • Airport Trust Fund has given more than £3.5m to local causes over 25 years
  • Competition welcomed by Wythenshawe MP Mike Kane
  • Applications must be made by Friday 28th October via www.manchesterairport.co.uk/community/working-in-our-community/eco-garden/

Manchester Airport is celebrating 25 years of its Community Trust Fund by launching a schools’ eco-garden competition with up to £40,000 up for grabs, including a £25,000 top prize for the overall winners.

Primary schools within an approximate 10-mile radius of the airport – which covers parts of Trafford, Manchester, Stockport, Tameside and Cheshire – are being given the chance to win a top prize of £25,000 by dreaming-up a garden design that will educate and inspire their pupils about the environment.

The second and third placed schools will bag £10,000 and £5,000 respectively to transform their outdoor spaces.

Schools hoping to be in with a chance of winning the prize are being asked to submit an application via www.manchesterairport.co.uk/community/working-in-our-community/eco-garden/, before the deadline of Friday 28th October, with a breakdown of how they would spend the funds and a covering letter outlining the difference this would make, also specifying how they would use the project to promote environmental awareness among pupils. The application will include producing a short video of no more than 3 minutes, presented by pupils, summarising the eco-garden proposal and the benefits it will bring.

Pupils from six finalist schools will be asked to pitch to the trustees at a grand final event under the wings of the Concorde, at the airport’s Runway Visitor Park, to decide the winners.

Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director at Manchester Airport, said: “Since it was established in December 1997, the Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund has invested more than £3.5m into worthwhile causes in our neighbouring communities. We are very proud of the positive impact it has made in that time.

“This competition celebrates the fund’s upcoming 25th anniversary in the most fitting way – giving three primary schools in our area an opportunity to create a unique, eco-friendly space that will leave a legacy for the next generation of pupils.

“We are encouraging applicants to be both innovative and imaginative, making use of space on their school’s campus that needs renovation and giving it a fresh lease of life.”

In each case, the eco-garden or learning area concept will need to have a lasting beneficial impact on wildlife and biodiversity as well as the education and wellbeing of students and the wider school community.

Selected finalist schools will be contacted by 21st November and will be asked to prepare their brief 10-minute presentation for the trustees, to be given at the grand final on Tuesday 6th December. Schools are encouraged to be creative with their proposals, and the presentation could include artwork, models, digital slides, or any other method that the pupils feel gets their ideas across.

Pupils will get the chance to rehearse their presentation during a visit from a local MP or airport business partner, who will provide feedback on the plans and mentorship to the pupils set to give the presentation.

Mike Kane MP, Shadow Aviation Minister and Member of Parliament for Wythenshawe, said: “As an ex-primary school teacher I am delighted to see this competition for local children. It is a great chance for kids to work together on a scheme to improve their school grounds and I cannot wait to see what they come up with.

“We all know how important the environment and biodiversity is and it’s great that in its 25th year the Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund will give schools the opportunity to create cleaner, greener spaces which will benefit us all for generations to come.”

The Community Trust Fund is overseen by the airport and managed by a committee of independent trustees, formed of local councillors from the six local authority areas which fall within the fund’s catchment area. It provides cash either as a contribution to, or to meet the full cost of, not-for-profit initiatives.

The Fund was established as part of the terms for the construction of the airport’s second runway in 1997, under a Section 106 agreement with local authorities.

Trustees meet on a quarterly basis to consider pledges up to £3,000, with applications welcomed from community groups or charities based within the Community Trust Fund’s coverage area, which extends around 10 miles from Manchester Airport.

The airport contributes £100,000 per year to the fund, which is topped up by the fines levied on airlines which breach noise restrictions.

Organisations as varied as scout groups, allotments, community newspapers and amateur sports clubs have received funding over the past quarter of a century, with some groups having received multiple donations in that time.

The 25th Anniversary eco-garden competition is running in parallel with the regular quarterly meetings, where new applications for funding will continue to be considered. Information on how to apply for a Community Trust Fund grant, and the full criteria, can be found here.

For more details on the Community Trust Fund, or the 25th Anniversary Eco-Garden competition, please contact the team by email – trust.fund@manairport.co.uk.