Suffolk and Essex landscapes create cash for projects

Kate Osborne, of Beach Bonkers, with two of her beachcombing finds. Beach Bonkers has been supported

Kate Osborne, of Beach Bonkers, with two of her beachcombing finds. Beach Bonkers has been supported by a Suffolk Secrets AONB grant. Picture: ARCHANT

AONBs grants up for grabs as deadlines loom.

Participants take part in Waveney Bird Club's mobility scooter birdwatch at RSPB Minsmere, a fundrai

Participants take part in Waveney Bird Club's mobility scooter birdwatch at RSPB Minsmere, a fundraiser last year for the club's Access for All project which has received a Suffolk Secrets AONB grant. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its similarly designated near neighbour the Dedham Vale don’t just look good - their status as nationally acknowledged swathes of hugely important landscape brings with it many other benefits, including opportunities for local projects to gain from thousands of pounds of grant aid.

Each year a wide range of conservation, access and education initiatives benefit from the “great green hand-outs” delivered through the AONBs and now the deadlines are again looming for applications for grants in a series of funding streams administered by the AONBs team. The cash support for the successful applicants will follow the recent award of funding to six projects in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB by a major holiday lettings firm that operates in the area.

The Suffolk Secrets agency, founded in 1995 and family-owned, is the largest of its kind in Suffolk, hosting more than 50,000 holidaymakers a year in its portfolio of more than 500 properties county-wide. In the last two years it has awarded grants totalling £25,000 to initiate or maintain existing projects as diverse as school poetry workshops, creating a community woodland and promoting artisan breadmaking.

The six projects supported by Suffolk Secrets in the latest awards are:

Waveney Bird Club - £2,570 for phase three of its Access for All Path at RSPB Minsmere. The grant will support the construction of a path that will allow disabled people’s access to the reserve’s East Hide via the North Wall

Aldeburgh’s Amazing Swifts - £2,085 towards a conservation scheme headed by Alan Collett to encourage swifts to nest and to raise awareness of the species’ conservation requirements

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GreenSnape Community Group - £2,000 to enhance Snape Village Green for residents, visitors and wildlife

Woodbridge Creative Arts - £500 towards the Creators and Makers Showcase events, headed by Clare Perkins, in the Shire Hall

Beach Bonkers - £2,570 to support Kate Osborne’s Treasuring Our Beaches 2018 programme of Beach Bonkers beachcombing walks and events based around Suffolk’s signature shingle beaches

Arts Branches CIC - £1,500 towards Stephanie Hartick’s Shingle, Sand and Sea project, enabling groups of vulnerable people to access the coast and enjoy activities to engage with the sense of place in a supported and creative setting.

Suffolk Secrets general manager George Bradley said: “As the largest holiday lettings agency in the county and hosting over 50,000 visitors a year, we believe that we have a responsibility to the local community as well as holidaymakers to help protect, promote and nurture everything which makes this part of the world such a special place to be.”

David Wood, chairman of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB Partnership, added: “The outstanding landscape of the AONB benefits hugely from the support of Suffolk Secrets as a key local business and it is a privilege to work with them to award grants to communities and local initiatives to build lasting conservation of the area. The projects this year will bring people and landscapes together through a range of initiatives building awareness and undertaking practical conservation.”

The deadlines for other grants are fast-approaching. Applications for support from the Suffolk Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale Sustainable Development Fund must be made by March 8. Defra-funded to the tune of £40,000 a year, the fund can award up to half of the money a project requires.

Three other funding streams are available in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB.

The deadline for applications to the Community and Conservation Fund, which awards amounts of about £500 to conservation, access and education projects is March 8.

Applications to the EDF Energy-initiated Amenity and Accessibility Fund must be made by March 23. The fund, set up with an initial £120,000 and with annual EDF payments of £20,000, aims to offset the impact of the Dry Fuel Store’s construction at Sizewell B.

The Galloper Wind Farm Fund, associated with the renewable energy scheme off Suffolk, awards a total of £11,000 a year, with individual grants of up to about £2,500. Its deadline in also March 23.

Information about all the grants and funding available can be found at www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org

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