Pigs credit Dave Penman

The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a nationally important protected landscape, with vibrant communities and a wealth of wildlife and heritage. To help keep the AONB special, the Sustainable Development Fund was created and run by the Dorset AONB Partnership. You can apply for a grant from this fund for projects that will help care for this special area and the people who live and work in it.

You can apply now for the 2019 allocation of funds. The closing date is Friday 26th April 2019. You will be notified of the outcome in mid-May. Please feel free to contact Kate Townsend, AONB Project Support Officer at any time to discuss your proposal.


What kinds of projects can be funded?

The Dorset AONB Sustainable Development Fund can support projects that:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty and heritage of the Dorset AONB.
  • Support the social and economic wellbeing of local communities in sustainable ways that care for the environment.
  • Have the support and involvement of local people or meet a recognised local need.
  • Help deliver the Dorset AONB Management Plan.

We would particularly like to support projects that:

  • Encourage everyone to get involved, including young people.
  • Remove barriers to all people's enjoyment and involvement in the countryside.
  • Bring organisations and people together in tackling problems or promoting new ideas.
  • Encourage links between urban groups and those resident in the AONB.
  • Demonstrate innovation or best practice.

You can use the Sustainable Development Fund to establish new projects, or to add value or new dimensions to existing projects.


Do projects need to be within the AONB boundary?

Projects don't necessarily need to be within the AONB boundary, but must benefit the AONB and meet the above aims. View a map of the AONB boundary here.


Who can apply?

Anyone (individual, group or organisation) can apply to the fund. At the application stage, there are conditions that apply about how we use your data.  These can be found here (our terms & conditions) and also here (our privacy policy).  If your project is successful, there  will also be  conditions that you will have to abide by to ensure the fund is used in the best way for its intended purpose.

How much can be applied for?

This year's allocation for the SDF is approximately £20,000. While there is no upper limit to what you can ask for, a project would have to be exceptional to receive more than £3,000. The fund can support up to 50% of the costs of most projects or 75% if you are a voluntary group or charity. The Fund cannot be matched by Exchequer funds – i.e. money from a Government department or agency (e.g. Natural England, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission etc.). In-kind contributions and volunteer time can be used as match funding; the amounts can be found on the application form.


What we do not fund

We do not fund projects that support direct commercial transactions for financial gain.


How to apply

Contact us about applying for the fund or download the application form.

We'll happily talk with you about your project ideas either over the phone or in person (we're based in central Dorchester). To talk or arrange a quick meeting, please call Kate Townsend.

Over the past ten years, the Dorset AONB Sustainable Development Fund has given over half a million pounds in grants to community groups, individuals and local organisations to enable them to take the local landscape into their own hands.

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