Helping local communities look after the Blackdown Hills AONB

The purpose of the Blackdown Hills Countryside Fund is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Blackdown Hills AONB, while supporting local communities. The Fund provides funding to local people, community groups and local organisations to deliver projects that benefit the natural, cultural and built heritage of the area and its communities.

Who manages the Countryside Fund?

The Blackdown Hills Countryside Fund is administered by Devon Community Foundation, an independent charity with the experience and expertise to ensure that your money secures a better future for the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and its communities.

Devon Community Foundation works on our behalf to collect donations and to manage applications from groups wishing to apply for funding.

While the Blackdown Hills AONB team does not administer the Countryside Fund directly, donations to the fund will be spent within the Blackdown Hills AONB on projects that support both local communities and the natural beauty of the area.

Devon Community Foundation is a registered charity (1057923) and not-for-profit organisation that works throughout Devon to help groups make a real, lasting difference to local lives. Devon Community Foundation retains a small percentage of the donations each year as a contribution towards management and operating costs.

Investing donations for long-term funding

Through shrewd management of the donations we receive, we can generate even more money to put towards the grants the Countryside Fund gives out. The Countryside Fund consists of an investment (endowed fund) and an additional pot of money to be distributed annually as grants. Each year, income from the invested money is added to the grant pot. Donations received can either be paid into the endowed fund (with a view to raising more income for the future) or be used immediately for grants.

To establish the endowed fund for use in this way, we initially needed to invest a minimum of £25,000. We are hugely grateful to those who, through their donations, have helped us reach this target.

With this investment in place, have established a grants panel to be responsible for making decisions about grant funding. The panel will include representatives from the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership and the local community.

How to apply for a Blackdown Hills Countryside Fund grant

To apply for a Blackdown Hills Countryside Fund grant, please visit the Devon Community Foundation website. Follow the instructions for applying for community grants and start by completing a stage 1 application.

While the grant fund is managed by Devon Community Foundation, groups and organisations in the Blackdown Hills in both Devon and Somerset are eligible to apply for a grant from the Blackdown Hills Community Fund.

How to donate

There are many local people willing to care for this wonderful place but they need your help to put their ideas into action.

Your donation will:

  • Attract a further 25% in gift aid, if you are a UK taxpayer
  • Help build a long-term fund that will benefit the Blackdown Hills
  • Support nature, culture and heritage projects
  • Be spent wisely and carefully

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