Blackdown Hills Challenge Fund (Covid-19 green recovery)

A dormouse standing on the twig of a tree looking at the camera through the leaves.

Hazel dormouse. Photo: James Maben

This year, we’ve created a one-off Blackdown Hills Challenge Fund to help support Blackdown Hills communities on the path to a green recovery.

Our rationale

As we emerge from the worst of the Covid-19 crisis and continue to tackle the challenges it brings, an even greater challenge awaits us – tackling climate change and the loss of biodiversity. We cannot underestimate the importance of the natural world to our very existence. It is vital that we take care of it.

In recent months, many more people have started to appreciate the restorative benefits of accessing our green spaces. We want to ensure that the growing public interest in the UK countryside results in visits to the Blackdown Hills AONB that are safe and positive for all concerned, including our wildlife! Helping people to learn about and appreciate the value of habitats and species is an important part of that work.

Blackdown Hills Challenge Fund

Through the Blackdown Hills Challenge Fund we’ve made budget available which will provide grants of up to £5,000 for two to three projects within the Blackdown Hills AONB which protect or increase biodiversity, encourage community engagement and promote local community action. Examples might include:

• A large habitat/species restoration scheme on a site that the public can easily access and enjoy
• An arts or creative project that engages people in nature’s recovery and creates a long-lasting legacy.

The scheme can provide up to 75% funding for projects, with the remainder of the cost being met by the group, organisation or individual leading the project.

The Challenge Fund is in addition to the grants available through this year’s Sustainable Development Fund.

Funding criteria

Applications will be managed through our Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) process and will be considered by the SDF panel using the same criteria as SDF applications, but with an emphasis on green recovery (as described above).

Find out more about funding criteria and suitable projects

Applicants must demonstrate that they are able to work within Covid-19 Government guidelines.

Deadline for applications: 17 August 2020

All projects must be completed and claimed for by the middle of March 2021

How to apply

If you have a project in mind for the Blackdown Hills Challenge Fund please email details of your project idea to in the first instance so we can talk through your proposal and assess the suitability of your project, before you complete an application for the grant.

Please include details of:

  • What you’re proposing to do
  • The reason funding is required
  • The amount of funding you are seeking (and how you propose to contribute to the overall cost of the project)
  • The legacy your project will provide

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