Previously funded projects
The Norfolk Coast Sustainable Development Fund has been running since 2005 and is now in its 12th year of grant giving. Below are some examples of the wide range of projects supported by the fund.
Wildlife corridor improvements, South Wootton
This is an excellent example of different community groups working together in partnership to improve wildlife habitats in their local area. In recognition of their hard work the parish council won an award at the annual Community Biodiversity Awards held in July 2016.
Their project in 2015-16, with a grant of just over £1,300, saw the parish council work closely with South Wootton in Bloom, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and North Wootton Community School to restore a seasonal pond in Wootton Park. Working together they cut back shady trees, planted over 700 aquatic plants, installed bird and bat boxes and created habitat piles. Consequently the pond has become a valuable link to nearby wildlife corridors, allowing species to move between habitats. The grant also paid for a picnic table with a built-in interpretation panel allowing visitors to identify the wildlife they see.
Calm Woods at the Belfry school, Overstrand
With their SDF grant of £3,761 in 2015-16, the Friends of the Belfry did an amazing job of transforming part of their school grounds into a wildlife area and vegetable garden. The funds helped buy gardening equipment, materials and wildlife friendly plants to create an inspirational place for fun and learning. Thanks to some devoted and talented volunteers (an equivalent value of £3,375 of volunteer time was accumulated during the project - more than the grant they received!) Calm Woods is resplendent with willow fencing and wigwam that will change with the seasons.
The children and staff are already enjoying the garden with their after school club very active in the vegetable garden, and classes taking it in turns to play there during lunchtimes. The Friends have more plans for Calm Woods once it is officially opened in July 2015, including planting in the pond and a story telling area.
It is not surprising that the Friends of the Belfry have been nominated for a Community Biodiversity Award 2015!
West Runton Parish Council
In 2014-15 West Runton Parish Council received just over £5,000 to restore a pond on West Runton Common, which had been heavily silted up due to surface run off. In order to improve it's condition for wildlife, the parish enlisted the help of NCC's Ecologist Ed Stocker and a local contractor who removed several tonnes of silt and vegetation and installed new sluice gates. The SDF grant also allowed the parish to purchase 1200m of electric fencing to allow much of the common to be grazed by animals from the nearby Hillside Animal Sanctuary. This more sustainable management of the area will boost the biodiversity of the common and adjacent ponds in the years to come.
Built in 1942 on the edge of the former RAF base at Langham, the Dome was used to train anti-aircraft gunners during World War II. With over £700,000 of funding (from Heritage Lottery, English Heritage and several contributors including SDF) the North Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust with the local community fully restored & turned this unusual building into an impressive visitor and educational attraction.
During 2013-14, £10,000 from the SDF helped create the lively and interactive interpretation that brings this historic building to life. The Dome, open between July - October, is now run by its dedicated group of volunteers, the Friends of Langham Dome (FoLD). More information can be found on the Langham Dome website.
Rescue Wooden Boats
The Rescue Wooden Boats project at Stiffkey was awarded a Heritage Lottery grant to restore Dunkirk veteran wooden lifeboat, the 'Lucy Lavers'. A dedicated team of local volunteers have also created a visitor centre which tells the story of the boats and the people who relied on them and allows the public to see first hand the boats being restored. During 2013-14 around £5,000 of SDF grant was used specifically for the design and creation of interpretation panels within the centre. More information can be found on the Rescue Wooden Boats website
Pond restoration - Winterton-on-Sea
Winterton Parish Council has, led by active member of the community Keith Harrison, worked hard in 2012-13 to turn a previously inaccessible space into a safe haven for residents and wildlife. Under guidance from Norfolk County Council (NCC) ecologists and archaeologists and with grant funding from the SDF and NCC, a team of local volunteers removed pond sediment to restore water levels, planted wild flowers, mended fences and removed non-native trees. They also built a pond dipping platform and made and installed bird boxes. The area has already attracted a variety of wildlife and schoolchildren keen to explore the area.
Over time this will become a safe and peaceful place for local residents to enjoy , while providing a valuable refuge for a variety of plants and animals.
NRCC - Affordable housing
The Norfolk Rural Community Council (NRCC) obtained funding in 2011-12 and in 2012-13 for a 2-phased project to look at affordable housing issues in the area. Many parishes see a lot of young people and key workers leaving the area due to a shortage of available,affordable housing.
So using the success of the community-led Homes4Wells initiative, NRCC have spent time talking to several parishes about the issues they face, discussing possible solutions and producing a guide. A couple of these communities have begun to form their own Community Land Trust which will enable them to run their own scheme. Although SDF funding has now ceased, the project continues, so if your community is interested in running such a scheme, do contact Rik Martin for more details.
NOTE: Norfolk Rural Community Council has since merged with West Norfolk VCA and is known as Community Action Norfolk - details at www.communityactionnorfolk.org.uk
Paston Heritage Society
This group received two SDF grants in 2009-10 and 2011-12 totalling £7,000. Both grants were used to bring the local community and school children closer to the Paston family through various events linked with the historic landscape.
Mundesley Scout Hut
The Mundesley Air Cadet group received a grant for £10,000 in 2010-11 as a contribution towards the building of a brand new scout hut and community facility on the edge of the village. Specifically the grant paid for an air-source heat pump which improves the environmental sustainability of the building. Numerous young people and groups from Mundesley have benefited from the new premises and the opportunities it provides.
Roots & Shoots - Holt Hall
Holt Hall Field Studies Centre received two grants in 2007-08 and 2008-09 to restore the Victorian walled garden in the Hall's grounds and use it to grow vegetables. They were able to initiate their 'Roots and Shoots' programme which works with young people, including those with special needs, to help them learn about growing vegetables. Some grant money was also used to renovate the old stables building into a modern teaching/ meeting room.
North Norfolk Reedcutters Association
This local reedcutters association received two grants in 2005-06 and 2006-07 to purchase various equipment. This has enabled reedcutters across the coast to come together to work collectively, share resources and encourage young people to take up the trade. This will increase the sustainability of this traditional skill for generations to come. Visit their website.
Sedgeford Primary School
The school received about £1,500 during 2006-07 and 2007-08 to buy equipment which they used to set up a community garden in the school grounds. The children have been involved in growing their own vegetables which in turn have been used by the school kitchen for their lunches!
Holkham Forge Blacksmiths
This local artist-blacksmith partnership succeeded in obtaining £6,800 in 2008-09 to expand their business as they moved from Burnham Deepdale to Holkham Forge on the Holkham Estate. The grant enabled them to purchase equipment and fit out their new premises. Since then they have been able to take on more work and teach apprentices the blacksmith trade.
North Norfolk Astronomy Society
This local voluntary group received about £1,300 between 2009-10 and 2010-11 to purchase specialised equipment to allow them to undertake a light pollution survey of North Norfolk's skies. The results showed that parts of our coast are as dark as those found in Exmoor and Galloway. It's such darkness which adds to the wilderness qualities of the Norfolk Coast and makes it feels so special.
Norfolk Barbastelle Bat Group
This newly formed community group made up of nearly 100 volunteers was able to purchase much needed equipment with their £10,000 grant in 2011-12. This has allowed them to undertake surveys of the rare Barbastelle bat along the Norfolk coast. The data obtained will increase understanding of the bat's ecology as well as assist habitat management decisions in the AONB. www.norfolkbarbastellestudygroup.org
Dersingham NNR Grazing project
Grazier Nick Barrett received 2 grants in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively to work in partnership with Natural England on a grazing project at Dersingham Bog National Nature Reserve. The first grant allowed the purchase of four Black Galloway cattle and their calves, while the second grant helped buy Albert, a Black Galloway bull, creating a complete and self-sufficient herd. Grazing this vast site is a much more traditional and cost-effective way of managing the reserve's habitats. The cattle themselves are happy to roam the reserve in all weathers and have even become a visitor attraction in their own right (if you can find them!) See Dersingham Bog NNR for more information.
The Barrow Common Management Committee received two grants in 2005-06 and 2006-07 totalling just under £2,400. They used this money to improve access on the Common for local people and visitors to enjoy.