Sustainable Development Fund returns

PUBLISHED: 13:31 22 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:20 10 June 2010

TUESDAY, July 22: The East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been awarded £61,000 to support local projects between now and March 2009 that benefit landscape and communities.

The East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been awarded £61,000 to support local projects between now and March 2009 that benefit landscape and communities.

The East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is pleased to confirm that their highly successful Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) will be available again for the forthcoming year. The Fund is awarded to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty by Defra, through Natural England, to assist communities conserve and enhance our finest landscapes.

Chris Woodruff, East Devon AONB Manager, explains "Since the Fund was first announced in 2005, the Sustainable Development Fund has managed to support fifty one projects in the area. The Fund also helps lever in additional resources, and so taking this into account these projects have enabled in excess of £630,000 investment. We really feel the Fund makes a difference to those local business and communities who want to help us conserve and enhance this finest of landscapes".

The East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has helped Ian Shears, from Highfield Farm- a Soil association demonstration farm, near Topsham, take his unique mobile wood-fired oven to schools across the area. To see the oven in action visit the Heath Week Festival day, Sunday 27 July 11-3:30 at Woodbury Castle or the East Devon AONB stand B136 at the Honiton Show, Thursday 7 August.

Almost 1,800 pupils, teachers and helpers have benefited from Ian's tasty offer - in the Year of Food and Farming this year. The aim of this initiative was to help reconnect schoolchildren with their food. A visit was also included to the West of England School for children with little or no sight, the first time Ian has been able to help a local school with such disabilities. "It's fantastic to be able to help children learn about farming, particularly this school. I have been amazed at how enthusiastic children are to get stuck into grinding wheat or shaping sticky dough! Activities like these are a fun way for schoolchildren to reconnect with agriculture and landscape" said Ian.

Donald Campbell, Axe Vale and District Conservation Society representative on the East Devon AONB Partnership and chair of the Sustainable Development Fund panel added, "We are asking the local communities, conservation organisations and local businesses, from within or adjacent to the AONB, to come forward with ideas for projects which we could help fund. If you think your project could really make a difference and demonstrate good practice then we would like to hear from you as soon as possible".

Grants of up to £10,000 will be available from the Sustainable Development Fund and could be awarded to anyone including individuals, community groups, clubs, parish councils and commercial businesses. The Fund can provide assistance in the region of 50-75% of the total cost of a project, with the requirement that it supports or benefits the purpose of the AONB designations. To qualify, projects must demonstrate how they can benefit the AONB, further its purposes, be sustainable or have the support of the local community.

Further details about the East Devon AONB Sustainable Development Fund can be viewed on www.eastdevonaonb.org.uk or contact our offices on 01404 46663.

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