Charity and enterprise compete in £50m public vote

A charity and a social enterprise will compete against two council initiatives to win the Big Lottery Fund's biggest ever publicly allocated grant, amounting to £50m.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans and social enterprise the Eden Project were named on the shortlist for the People’s £50m Lottery Giveaway alongside a Nottinghamshire County Council initiative to restore Sherwood Forest and a consortium of West Midlands councils aiming to transform the environment of the region into a giant urban park.

The public will be asked to vote for the winner after a television programme in early December.

Sustrans wants the funds for its national Connect2 project to create new walking and cycling routes for short journeys. John Grimshaw, chief executive of the charity, said: “Our projects are within a mile of as many as six million people, giving the £50m grant the power to make a massive difference to our health, environment and overall quality of life, today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”

The Eden Project hopes to launch an initiative called the Edge, aimed at helping communities to share their ideas for improving their lives and surroundings. Tim Smit, chief executive of the Eden Project, said: “For the nation and the world it would be a unique and powerful symbol that little old homo sapiens isn't prepared to walk passively through the gates of doom.”

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