Sizewell: Funding now opening up beauty spot for families to enjoy

Karen White with baby Olivia who is now 16 months old on a walk around Thorpeness in the Suffolk Coa

Karen White with baby Olivia who is now 16 months old on a walk around Thorpeness in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB - Credit: Archant

A POT of money designed to benefit one of Suffolk’s most popular beauty spots has helped open up the countryside to families.

The Amenity and Accessibility Fund (AAF) was set up by EDF Energy to offset the impact of the construction of a dry fuel store at its Sizewell B nuclear power station.

Local projects that demonstrated they could improve access and use of the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) were invited to apply for a share of an initial £120,000 worth of funding.

More than £90,000 has now been awarded and the first successful projects are coming to fruition.

One of those to benefit is mum Karen White, from Kelsale, near Saxmundham, who has used the money to start a new business venture called Prambling.

She was given £5,000 and used the money to set up a website and printed guides to identify pram-friendly walking routes in the AONB, baby changing facilities and places where families with young children can stop for refreshments.

She said: “I believe passionately in helping other parents get out and about in the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Area, which I personally love.

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“I know first hand the challenges of having a new baby and getting out and about with a pram and I believe this project will really help and support people to enjoy the AONB and promote walking as a great exercise for the whole family.”

The website – www.prambling.co.uk – is due to launch next month.

The AAF, managed by EDF Energy, Suffolk Coastal District Council and Suffolk County Council in consultation with Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, was developed because the construction of the dry fuel store may delay the return of part of the Sizewell B site to other uses.

The site would otherwise have been expected to be restored in keeping with the surrounding AONB designated landscape.

Jim Crawford, station director of Sizewell B said: “We have been delighted by the interest the AAF has generated.

“Projects such as Prambling are a great example of the tangible difference the fund can make to local families accessing the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.”

A total of 10 projects were awarded funding in 2012/13 from the AAF and the deadline to apply for money in 2013/14, for which £40,000 was expected to be available, has just closed.

Anyone can apply for funding as long as they can demonstrate their project has a direct link to improving the accessibility of the AONB or they conserve or enhance the local amenity.

For more information visitwww.suffolkcoastandheaths.org/grants-and-funding/amenity-and-accessibility-fund.

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