Mendip Hills Fund: gearing up for applications

Friday 20th July 2018

Do you have a project that will benefit the environment or community of the Mendip Hills that needs funding? The Mendip Hills Fund will be open for applications between September and October.

Grants of up to £2000 are available for projects in the Mendip Hills AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and through East Mendip to Frome. Grants will be awarded to support community and voluntary group projects that:

Conserve and enhance the landscape

Increase awareness, understanding and enjoyment of the area

Support social and economic initiatives including enhancing community facilities or support for start-up of social enterprises, e.g. local food initiatives.

Jim Hardcastle, Mendip Hills AONB Manager said, ‘We’ve helped some brilliant projects recently like the Mendip Society’s Tania’s Wood that can now be used for forest schools, Osprey Outdoors that help long term unemployed people through conservation work, the Blagdon Orchard Groups new book and the school’s environment club in East Harptree.’

The fund was set up with the Somerset Community Foundation, and income is generated through visitor-giving schemes from local tourism businesses in the area and donations for Mendip Hills wildlife badges.

Latest news from last year’s recipients:

East Harptree School Environment Club to purchase equipment for them to attend their forest school.

Once a week, reception children from Hedgehogs class enjoy walking to forest school in the local woods. We have lots of fun in all weather; wearing our waterproofs and playing in the mud.

Blagdon Orchard Group to design a book to celebrate the history of orchards in the area.

Suzanne Wynn, chair of Blagdon Orchard Group, was delighted with the publication of the book. She said the process of producing the book was just as important as the final product as it brought different people and groups together in the community around a common theme.

Blagdon Primary School for their weekly forest school activities.

The activities they do have meaning in the setting. It has improved social skills as they come together to work on challenging projects. Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn and question is evident. The understanding of risk that the children have has increased – they talk about risk and assess situations more readily.

Osprey Outdoors for conservation volunteering for mental health service users, drug and alcohol rehabilitation clients, long term unemployed.

It has helped improve the life-skills of those volunteering through conservation work.

Somerset Wildlife Trust for their interpretation board at Mascall’s Wood, Cheddar.

To find out more about these projects click here.

If you are running a project in the Mendip area and you are not sure if you fit the criteria for application to the Mendip Hills Fund, please visit Somerset Community Foundation web site or call Jim Hardcastle, Mendip Hills AONB Unit 01761 462338 or SCF Programmes Manager Jocelyn Blacker on 01749 344949. You can apply online from 1st September to 31st October.