The Howardian Hills AONB Sustainable Development Fund was established in 2005. The Fund, which is given to us by Defra, assists projects that bring environmental, economic or community gain. The strongest projects are those that support more than one of these aims.Wildlife and kitchen garden areas at Welburn School and Foston School.
The fund has awarded grants from £50 to in excess of £40,000. Most grants tend to be for between £1,000 and £15,000.
Projects supported include:
Howsham Mill - bricks and mortar, restoration of the mill wheel (to generate power), fish passage study and solar hot water.
Eco-renovation audits for the majority of the village halls in the AONB.
Orchard projects - Apple recipie book to raise funds for the community orchard in Gilling being set up by Ampleforth Abbey, business plan for diversification into brandy at Ampleforth Orchard and the establishment of communitiy orchards and community fruit processing facilities in Husthwaite.
Training courses - FWAG have received support towards training courses in stone walling, hedge laying and orchard management.
Renewable energy installations - contributions towards groundsource heat at Castle Howard and Gilling East Village Hall and towards airsource heat at Welburn Village Hall.
Agriplas accessed the SDF for business development money to expand their farm plastic recycling scheme into the AONB.
Basics Plus have set up a paper recycling round in the AONB collecting from businesses for a reasonable cost. The project is now self-sustaining and proving popular.
Composting - The Arboretum Kew at Castle Howard made and interpretted three compost bins at the Arboretum; they have also created an indoors display about composting. Oswaldkirk Environment Group have installed a compost bin in their churchyard; it was made by a local craftsman and takes green waste from the churchyard and the neighbouring community wildlife area.
Yorkshire Exmoor Pony Trust matched SDF funding with money from the North York Moors National Park and HLF to purchase a pony transporter - this has given them more flexibility with regard to moving times and has also reduced running costs.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust expanded their Living Churchyards Project into the AONB - using SDF to carry out botanical surveys of each churchyard and to produce management summaries for each. The project included a very successful Open Churchyard event at Amotherby Church.
The Arboretum, Kew at Castle Howard, replaced their defunct mobility buggies with one off-road buggy (part funded by SDF). The new vehicle has been booked out most of the time since its purchase. It even includes a radio tracker in case it breaks down!
Farm Carbon Audits - FWAG used SDF to carry out Carbon Audits on 10 farms in the AONB; they launched the project with a workshop session and concluded it with a feedback afternoon at Hovingham Village Hall (open to all farmers and advisors).