Coast Care and Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership have recently funded two projects through their Environmental Projects Fund. The Fund was set up three years ago to enable local community volunteers to make a contribution to their village or parish
The first award of just over £1,000 has been granted to the Embleton Quarry Community Nature Reserve volunteers to help them successfully manage the site and deliver their Management Plan. The quarry - which was a major employer in the village until it closed in 1961- has areas of Whin Grassland and Species Rich Grassland. The store of tools provided by the grant funding will allow more volunteer work parties to be involved in the protection and restoration of these important habitats.
The Northumberland Rivers Trust were the other beneficiaries of the scheme. Their project - St Aidan’s Streams - aims to encourage otters to recolonise and breed in areas of the Waren Burn through the installation of two artificial otter holts. The funding will also be used to purchase camera kits to monitor and assess whether the holts are being used following their installation.
Peter Kerr, Director of The Northumberland Rivers Trust said: "We are delighted to be awarded a grant from the Environmental Projects Fund. Otters are already [in the Waren Burn], but anything that we can do to help get them more established will be very valuable. We plan to construct the holts with Coast Care and the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership this autumn."
The grant scheme is open to those based in, or operating in, any parish within or adjacent to the AONB (which runs along the coast between Amble and Berwick). Grants will normally be in the range of £750 - £1,500. In general, the scheme will provide 100% funding, although this is at the discretion of the advisory panel.
The scheme complements the existing Sustainable Development Fund run by the AONB Partnership, which provides grants of up to £3,000 for projects that benefit the environment, communities and visitors to the AONB.
Becky Bass, Project Manager for Coast Care, said: "These funding opportunities will help to give volunteers the means to make a real difference in our area. In so many different ways volunteers play a vital role in looking after our coast. This grant fund will help to support and develop this even further”.
Anyone wanting further information on either of the AONB grant schemes should contact Catherine Gray, Funding and Communications Officer on tel. 01670 622644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or www.coast-care.co.uk