Over £70,000 of grant funding available to community projects in Suffolk and Essex

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Community groups, schools, businesses, and organisations across two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in Suffolk and Essex are invited to apply for significant grant funding to fund projects that benefit the area.

The Sustainable Development is an annual grants scheme that awards more than £70,000 to community projects in both the Dedham Vale and Coast & Heaths AONBs.

Funding supports projects that show innovation, social inclusion, sustainability, public benefit, and partnership working. Individuals as well as organisations such as schools, businesses and community groups are all welcome to apply for funding.

The purpose of the Sustainable Development Fund is to further conserve and enhance the areas that are nationally significant and iconic. Projects should aim to benefit the area, its communities, environment, economy, and access.

Previous examples of projects funded include creative workshops and photography walks for tackling men’s mental health, new fencing and gates for nature and wildlife reserves, art installations, rural training for young people, as well as visitor information at well-known landmarks in the area.

Whether you have a project that covers topics such as wildlife conservation, access, diversity, climate change, health and wellbeing, learning, and heritage to give you a few examples, the AONBs welcome all applications or initial discussions to find out more.  

There is no limit to the amount of funding projects can apply for. In 2021-22 the Sustainable Development Fund awarded in the region of £600 to £5,000 per project.  In 2021-22 the Sustainable Development Fund supported 30 projects across the AONBs. 

Applications must be received by Monday 16th May 2022, with successful projects to be completed between August 2022 and 13th March 2023. Applicants need not necessarily come from, or be based in, the AONB. However, projects must further the conservation and enhancement of the AONB.

The Sustainable Development Fund is a fund provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to enable local communities and other organisations to make a difference in AONBs by promoting and achieving sustainable development, partnership, and social inclusion.

These projects focus on integrating the environment, local communities, and the economy so that the unique landscape of the AONB is conserved and its natural beauty enhanced, making it more enjoyable for all.

For more information, visit www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org or www.dedhamvalestourvalley.org or contact Oka Last, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Grants Officer, on 01394 445225 or AONBgrants@suffolk.gov.uk

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