Three River’s Sustainability Fund Helps Unite Community through Sustainability and Art

NewsUpdated: 5 March 2024Community and living
group of young people drawing on a canvas

A local charity has showcased how sustainability can bring communities together, thanks to the Three Rivers Sustainability Fund.

The Three Rivers Sustainability Fund, managed by Watford and Three Rivers Trust, supports voluntary organisations in the Three Rivers area that align with the Sustainable Development Goals and contribute to the Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy.

Imatter Health and Wellbeing Support CIC is a wellbeing charity organisation for young people in the Three Rivers area and was founded and run by Martha Burling.

The funding supported a project that got young people to show off their creative side by transforming recycled material into art that resonated with the Watford and Three Rivers community.

Their project, which ran from June 2023 to November 2023 at the Mill End Baptist Church, began with shared lunch sessions, followed by art activities, drawing in a diverse group of participants every Wednesday.

Additionally, they created orchids from paper and sprayed them with pink paint, mixing them with recycled artificial red roses, showcasing a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Imatter also participated in the reopening of the Hollywell Community Centre, where they donated school materials to local youth and showcased activities aimed at helping them tackle anxiety. This included the innovative 'anxiety destroyer bear,' a tool used to help young people cope with and overcome anxiety.

The 'Community Connection Canvas' was a particularly symbolic initiative. This travelling canvas, starting at the Mill End Baptist Church, was adorned by drawings from the youth, symbolising the community. It then moved to a gathering of refugees and asylum seekers at St Mary's Church, before returning to Mill End Baptist Church, where the youth added words of 'Community Love' and 'Hope' inside a heart shape, colouring the entire canvas purple to represent unity.

The project concluded with the creation of youth connection bracelets, made from beads donated by Mill End Community Centre that would have been thrown out otherwise. These bracelets were exchanged among the youth as a symbol of their participation and the connections cultivated during the process.

Martha Burling said: "The Sustainability Fund that Imatter Health and Wellbeing Support CIC received this year has supported our causes supporting the youth of Mill End community, learning about recycling by turning wasted materials into art...The grant also encouraged unity among the Watford communities through our 'travelling community love canvas'. The end of the project was marked by the making of bracelets that the Mill End youth community made from the recycled beads donated by the Mill End Community Centre itself."

Cllr Jon Tankard, Environmental Services, Climate Change, and Sustainability said: "The success of Imatter's project in Three Rivers is a shining example of how targeted funding can empower communities to embrace sustainability while fostering unity and creativity. Through the Sustainability Fund, we're not just supporting environmental initiatives; we're investing in the social fabric of our community, bringing people together to address climate change in meaningful, impactful ways. This project demonstrates the incredible potential of combining sustainability with other wider social issues, such as mental health, setting a powerful precedent for future initiatives."

Find out more about the Three Rivers Sustainability Fund and how to apply through visiting the Watford and Three Rivers Trust website:

Find out more about other community grants for projects in Three Rivers through visiting our website: