2011 Sustainable Development Fund Projects
SDF Projects 2011
This year we were over subscribed with a wide variety of applications. The fund has supported 20 new projects, covering all aspects of the Dorset AONB Management Plan. Most of the projects are underway and a few projects have even been completed.
Saving Little Terns at Chesil Beach
This is a project led by the RSPB who wanted to build on the continued success of last years breeding programme. They needed more intensive help for this project to survive, so a partnership of local landowners and organisations pooled together resources for round-the-clock wardening during the nesting season. The hard work of the warden and volunteers led to a successful outcome. In total 18 pairs of little terns bred, producing 12 young fledgings. This is the highest number of young fledged since 2000.
Our funding helped the development phase of a 3-year educational project for young people (7-11 years of age / Key Stage 2) to have fun learning about the food sources and life cycles of butterflies and moths. Children will be encouraged to propagate, plant and monitor plants, shrubs and trees which are the food of caterpillars or which provide nectar for adult butterflies and moths. They will then record which butterflies and moths use or visit them. For details of the project as it develops, visit the Butterfly Conservation website. The full time project officer has done a fantastic job road testing the various workshops during the summer and is now busy collating everything for the stage 2 bid.
The Guardianship Scheme with the National Trust
This project enabled all new year 9 students (260) go out to Middlebere Heath with their tutors to help The National Trust clear the gorse. They are transported by coach from school to the site where they are given a safety talk by The National Trust. Students then use bow saws and loppers to clear and the invasive plant Gorse. Students spend about one and a half hours on site.
This year community police officers and fire service helped out too. BP staff were also invited along as their land adjoins the site. A family day on 22nd October was also organised when parents came along to see what’s been achieved. This project has been running for 3 years and is going from strength to strength, and this year 98% of the students participated in this scheme and will hope to continue next year.
Projects still in progress:
Art & Culture projects
Following the success of the Jurassic Journey roadshow, to accompany this project, Artsreach have developed a programme of events and talks for local communities and schools to develop greater knowledge and awareness of the Jurassic Coast, the geology of which stretches inland across the Dorset AONB.
A small grant has been awarded to Landance, to help develop a performance that will take place in July 2012 on Eggardon Hill in west Dorset. Around 60 dancers and 120 singers will be involved in the performance, all from the local community, which will celebrate this outstanding landscape.
Land management & biodiversity projects
New Oaks for Old – Oak awareness in the Marshwood Vale
This project aims to add at least 1000 new oaks to replenish and sustain oaks in this area of the Dorset AONB. The SDF will help support the actions set out in the document ‘New Oaks for Old’, produced by a small community group Oaks Working Party. The plan is divided into 4 areas 1) Woodland 2)Traditional hedgerows 3)Flail-trimmed hedgerows and 4) Oaktivities
Other wood and land management projects include:
- Trees for Dorset a school projects for children in Key Stage 2
- Wet Woodlink, a project run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust.
- A small grant to help set up community gardens at Milton Abbas,
- A small grant to assist with some hedge restoration at Sutton Poyntz.
Planning and Renewable Energy projects
The Dorset Design and Heritage Forum wants to be able to support development projects that innovate, empower communities and encourage a deeper ownership of their neighbourhoods, at this time when the local planning agenda is changing.
In practice this will be achieved through a two stage process. The first stage, which is both an end in itself and piece of development work, will create a user defined document and web resource. It will set out the key issues and benefits of a creative, sustainable and locally distinctive approach to development in both the built (e.g. housing) and natural environment (e.g. wildlife areas) and then signpost to further resources and advice.
The second output is the identification of opportunities for a commissioning programme to pilot this new “neighbourhood” approach to development within the Dorset AONB. This commissioning programme this will be the subject to the Arts grant bid (the SDF will be used as match funding for this bid).
The Magdalen Project is a charity based in the far West of the AONB and offers an important area of activity ‘Care Farming’. The working farm helps promote mental and physical health by using animals, crops, woodlands and the agricultural landscape in practical and work-related activities. Recently there has been an increasing number of care farming clients - people with autistic spectrum disorders and other learning disabilities. Such clients require facilities that can provide safe, nurturing environments away from the hurly burly of visiting school groups (3,000 school children per year).
The SDF will contribute towards:
- making the existing straw-bale roundhouse warm, weatherproof and usable all year, as a quiet room and ‘breakaway space’ for care farming clients
- contribute to a sustainable biomass heating to the Victorian farmhouse, which is to become a residential visitor centre specifically to meet the needs of disadvantaged and disabled people. Both parts of this project are well underway and should be finished in the Spring.
A few projects highlighting the importance of the Dorset coast, include:
- The Litter Free Coast and Sea campaign
- Setting up of a Volunteering Ranger scheme in readiness for the Olympics in 2012
- New interpretation at Pevrill Point in Swanage. This project is being led by Coastwatch, and is making use of an old WW2 fort and a room below the Coastwatch lookout. The interpretation will enhance and contribute to this very special location on the Purbeck coastline. The panels are well underway and highlight the geology, fishing, wildlife, coastal management, local stories and history specific to this point.