Landscapes for Life
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are some of the UK’s most cherished and outstanding landscapes.
What sort of activities can be funded by SDF?
Listen to our Podcast about a recent drystone walling project supported by the SDF to find out more. The team behind the ‘Great Wall of The Narth’ – John Dunkleman and Ernie Phillips (pictured above) – talked to Sarah Sawyer (then Wye Valley AONB Community Links Officer) and Sarah Tindle (Recreation and Partnerships Officer at Natural Resources Wales), giving insight into the sorts of projects that might be eligible.
The Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) is available in the Welsh part of the Wye Valley AONB. It can be used to support innovative and sustainable projects involving local communities within and adjacent to the AONB. The grant is delivered by the Wye Valley AONB Unit, on behalf of the Welsh Government.
The SDF aims, through partnership, to develop and test ways of achieving a more sustainable way of living in a landscape of great natural beauty and diversity. This grant fund seeks to conserve and enhance the local characteristics of wildlife, landscape, land use and community. Sustaining the social well-being and economic viability of communities are also important aims of SDF. The Fund is for practical, innovative schemes that engage local communities. Projects that will be supported must meet the statutory purpose of the Wye Valley AONB, which is to conserve and enhance its natural beauty.
Around £100,000 is available for projects in Wales each year. Applications can be for small grants of less than £1,000, or larger grants of up to £25,000 in exceptional circumstances.
The scheme is available to any organisation, including community or voluntary groups, local authorities, as well as the private sector and individuals. The private sector and individuals must demonstrate that their projects have a wider public benefit. The proposed project must meet the purpose of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the objectives of the scheme and be located in, or have direct benefit to, the Wye Valley AONB. Your project must comply with any relevant regulatory requirements e.g. planning permission, building regulations etc.
Landscape & Biodiversity Enhancements Grants: The SDF grant can support works at a rate of 50% of the total cost up to a maximum of £3,000. The grant is aimed at small scale holdings, community councils and community spaces, or where existing agri-environment grants are not available but where biodiversity gains can engage and benefit those who live within the local environment. Eligible works may include:
Contact Lucinda James, AONB Community Links Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org – 07956 452770 / 01600 710844 – in first instance, with a brief outline of your proposal and your contact details and she will get back to you.
SDF Grant: £1,000
SDF funding helped the Monmouthshire Meadows group produce a lavishly illustrated, 330 page field guide to grassland fungi to help promote the vital role of fungi in grassland ecology. A group of skilled volunteers and specialists worked on the book, undertaking extensive surveys and fieldwork in the Lower Wye Valley.
The project team identified 177 species of fungi commonly found in meadows and other grasslands in the UK, such as Waxcaps, Tongues, Spindles and Pink Gills. More than 800 photographs illustrate the key identification points whilst technical terms are kept to a minimum. A launch day was attended by over 100 people from a range of organisations including the Wildlife Trusts and Plant Life. The book has proved popular and sold well within the Wye Valley AONB and beyond. Copies can be purchased from the distributors www.nhbs.com for £19.99.
SDF Grant: £1,347
The Nurturing our Nature project saw parents, children and project volunteers working together at Llandogo Primary School to clear overgrowth from around the pond, removing an old bridge and creating a gentle shelf within the pond before planting with native species. They created amphibian and reptile homes using log piles and terracotta pots and reptile monitoring refuges using corrugated roofing. Participants also learnt how to prune the orchard trees, re-stake them and prepare the meadow area underneath to increase the area of hay meadow surrounding the trees. They painted new nest boxes and put them up around the school grounds. Wildlife recording boards were made for the children to show just how much wildlife had been attracted to their new school pond.