The SDF Panel have met twice in 2014 and have allocated the entire grant pot of just over £19,000 to eight projects which are described below. Most of these projects are aiming to complete their activity by the end of 2015.
Both the Wyre Rivers Trust and the Lune Rivers Trust received support for their work in recording and tackling Invasive Non Native Species. Identifying and removing plants such as Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam will enable native species to re-colonise and stabilise our river banks. The projects both hope to recruit and train volunteers in their activity, and the Lune Rivers Trust will also carry out some work with local schools. Wyre Rivers Trust was allocated £2400, and the Lune Rivers Trust received £1500.
Energy efficiency and low carbon heating projects were again supported this year. A new biomass boiler (wood pellets) is being installed at Thorneyholme RC Primary school in Dunsop Bridge and SDF granted £4,500 towards constructing the building to house the new boiler and fuel store in the school yard. At Pendleton Village Hall the fund was able to offer £2810 towards the insulation costs of the hall's back room to enable it to be used throughout the year and to keep heating costs down. And at Browsholme Hall, one of the Forest of Bowland's most historic houses and home to the Parker family for over 500 years, SDF supported insulation and new heating infrastructure costing £3000 as part of a major investment by the business to heat the hall using a ground source heating system, which will help to conserve the historic contents and textiles housed there and exhibited to the public.
At Scorton, near Garstang, a parish council-led project to improve the village playing fields by creating a Multi Use Games Area was supported with a £2500 grant from SDF towards the costs of an all weather shelter, seating and planting to attract pollinators, plus a new interpretation board to welcome visitors to the village and the AONB. Scorton is an important gateway to the Forest of Bowland and the information provided will help them to find out more about our beautiful area.
The parish council covering Bolton by Bowland and Tosside villages was awarded a grant of £1050 to help them to complete their developing Neighbourhood Plan. This will be the first such community-led plan in the AONB and it will enable residents to have a say and plan out how they see their neighbourhood and their local landscape developing in the future.
Finally, the Rotary Club for Ribblesdale was awarded a grant of £1600 to run an environmental project with five local primary schools. The project will support the AONB's HayTime project by collecting wildflower seed and teaching the children how to propagate and grow small plants which can then be planted into meadow restoration sites. The children will have several trips out to the meadows and they will also enjoy specially prepared lessons using the 'Into the Meadows' resource pack created by our friends at Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.