Funds for forest

First published in Rural Focus by

PROJECTS which promote sustainability in the New Forest are set to benefit from a new fund offering grants of up to £50,000.

The Sustainable Communities Fund combines several existing grant schemes to provide a one-stop shop for projects which promote sustainable living and working within the National Park, with grants available for up to 75 per cent of a project’s cost.

Applications are now being accepted from anybody planning to launch or expand a project that supports: n heritage n biodiversity n awareness of why the New Forest is special n engagement of people with the National Park n provision of local food and goods n reducing carbon emissions in the National Park n sustainable transport options including cycling facilities In addition to the fund’s core objectives sustainable transport is the specialist theme for 2014, with grants for projects aimed at reducing the impact of traffic on the National Park.

Any project which encourages visitors and residents to travel car-free in the New Forest could be eligible for a grant, even if it is a small bike shelter or series of guided walks.

The fund simplifies the process of applying for a grant from the National Park Authority by combining existing sustainable transport grant schemes with the Sustainable Development Fund.

The latter has supported projects ranging from a woodlark survey to community allotments and since April 2006 has: n funded 132 projects n awarded £1.45m of grants n secured £3m from other sources n benefitted 58,000 people.

Marian Spain, New Forest National Park Authority member, said: “This new grants scheme is a great opportunity for local people to get the funding they need to launch, expand or improve their project.

“I hope this fund will encourage more individuals and organisations to develop opportunities for sustainable living and working within the National Park as it has a positive effect on the environmental, community and economic wellbeing of the area.”

To find out more information about the grants visit newforestnpa.gov.uk/grants Alternatively, if you would like to discuss a grant application please contact the grants officer on 01590 646634 or email scf@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

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