NEW STOUR VALLEY ENVIRONMENT FUND
Higham and River Stour aerial photo.
Finding new ways of encouraging local giving to benefit environmental projects in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Stour Valley is quite a challenge, and is one we feel we can face with the support of local organisations such as the Colne-Stour Countryside Association.
The Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project has recently established the Stour Valley Environment Fund (SVEF). The Fund is both donation seeking and grant giving, supporting charities and voluntary groups who work to enhance the environment in the Stour Valley, with money raised from donations and legacies. The Fund will be managed by the Essex Community Foundation (Reg. Charity No. 1052061).
We don’t need to tell members of the Colne-Stour Countryside Association what makes the Stour Valley so special! We all know that the Stour Valley is cherished for its relatively undeveloped, tranquil landscape and stunning natural and cultural history, by you and by everyone that lives in, works in and visits it. Recognised as special by England’s greatest landscape painter, John Constable, this landscape is a ‘living picture’ captured for future generations.
The aim of the Stour Valley Environment Fund is to provide a channel through which individuals, families, companies or charitable trusts can support the Stour Valley landscape. By pooling donations into one charitable Fund we can have a much more powerful impact to support environmental activities in the Stour Valley. The fund will hopefully grow over the years with donations, legacies and investment, and is a long-term sustainable approach to the management of the Vale.
The Fund will support voluntary and community organisations working to benefit community life and the environment in the Stour Valley area, on both the Essex and Suffolk sides of the river Stour. The SVEF will initially award grants of up to £2,500 twice a year, and expects to announce the first awards in April 2012. The next deadline for applications is 9 September 2012.
What projects could be funded? The Fund will support voluntary and community organisations working to enhance community life and the environment in the Stour Valley area. This could include access and awareness projects aimed at local residents or visitors, practical work to enhance the upper Stour, or conservation projects in a school, or on a piece of common land.
PLEASE HELP THIS “LOCAL GIVING TO LOCAL CAUSES” INITIATIVE!
To apply for a grant please visit www.essex communityfoundation.org.uk or contact Essex Community Foundation on 01245 355947.
To make a donation, at any time, send a cheque payable to ‘Essex Community Foundation’ to 121 New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 0QT stating that your donation is to support the Stour Valley Environment Fund. Don’t forget that Gift Aid can enhance your donation. Please contact the ECF to discuss tax-efficient giving and setting up a legacy.
Other News from Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project
There is a new project along the length of the River Stour, aimed at identifying and locating where non-native invasive plant species are to be found. These species could be Himalayan balsam, Giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed and floating pennywort, amongst others. Working with the riverfront landowners and the Environment Agency surveying and clearance will also be undertaken, supported by the Stour Valley Volunteers. If you spot any non-native invasive plant species, please contact the central recorder from where we will receive local reports, Dr Jonathan Newman, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology at email@example.com or 01491 692556. Information required is the exact location, with a map grid reference if possible and the extent of the infestation.
For more information contact Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project 01473 264263 or visit www.dedham valestourvalley.org Cathy Smith is the Funding Officer of the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project. Cathy is part of the small team undertaking a range of activities to support the AONB vision, and also works for Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.
The Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project aims to conserve and enhance the special qualities of the Stour Valley from the source to the estuary. Part of the area was designated as an AONB in 1970, with the extended project area being added in 1992. As a protected landscape the whole area is championed by the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project, who work together with a Partnership of local and community groups who care about the special landscape, environmental and cultural quality, and the future of its communities.