New partnership fund launched for National Park
A new funding programme has been launched by the Exmoor National Park Authority. The Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund seeks to invest in good ideas and projects that will help achieve National Park purposes. The fund is open to communities, voluntary groups, businesses and individuals.
The creation of the Partnership Fund follows on from the successful Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) which invested nearly £1.9m over the past ten years. The Sustainable Development Fund supported more than 100 projects across Exmoor and helped successful applicants to attract a further £6.5m for a wide range of projects that might otherwise not have had the chance to get underway. The new Partnership Fund aims to build on past successes and has been established to help the Authority to work even more closely with land managers, communities and businesses in the National Park.
“In past years, most of the National Park’s project funding was allocated as part of the annual budgeting process with a set aside Sustainable Development Fund for communities and business”, said Dr Nigel Stone, Chief Executive of the National Park Authority. “This year, the National Park Authority has decided to open up more of its funding for external funding bids. The new Partnership Fund will enable us to support more bids from partners and the local community than before, alongside projects being developed by staff. It will also be a more open process as people will be able to see bids at least a week before the decisions are made at public meetings of the sub-committee.”
Around £500,000 is available for allocation in the current financial year towards projects that meet the criteria of the fund. Decisions on all applications over £2,500 will be considered by a new Discretionary Budget Sub-Committee of five National Park Authority Members which will begin to consider grants applications on 2August. Grants can range from a couple of hundred to several thousand pounds with a streamlined application process for those seeking less than £20,000.
To qualify for funding projects must contribute to at least one of the National Park purposes which are to:
- To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park and
- To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park by the public
In addition, projects should contribute to the achievement of objectives set out in the National Park Management Plan for Exmoor and demonstrate community involvement or support. A weighting will be given in favour of projects that will achieve real economic and community benefits and long-term impact.
“There is scope to fund a broad range of projects within the fund criteria” commented Dan James, the Authority’s Sustainable Economy Officer who will be co-ordinating fund applications. “The new fund offers a great opportunity for communities and partner organisations to develop new ideas and initiatives and we look forwards to discussing people’s ideas.”
Eligible projects might involve a range of activities addressing issues such as landscape conservation, education and outreach, access, sustainable development, enhancing the visitor experience, biodiversity, cultural heritage and much more. Funding would normally be up to 50% for projects submitted by individuals and businesses or up to 75% for projects run by community and voluntary organisations.
Full details of the new fund are available on the Authority’s website at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk within the ‘Living in’ community section.
Anyone who is interested in seeking funding should contact Dan James on 01398 322234 or email PartnershipFund@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk