Phone: 01394 445225 | Email: [email protected]

Community and Conservation Fund

Funding Criteria & Guidance for Applicants 2023-24

  1. What kinds of schemes are eligible?
  2. Grant Amounts
  3. Timeline
  4. Criteria
  5. Monitoring & Publicity
  6. Payment
  7. Terms & Conditions

If you need the information on this web page in a different format, please contact us by email at [email protected] or phone Oka Last, AONB Grants Officer 01473 265558.

1 What kinds of schemes are eligible?

Community & Conservation Fund grants can be used for a range of purposes including:

  • Enhancement schemes
  • Practical conservation work
  • Public access and infrastructure improvements
  • Equipment purchases
  • Information and interpretive material

Grants are available for both revenue and capital projects and can be used as part funding for larger projects, though evidence of funding is required in such cases.

2 Grant Amounts

The Community & Conservation Fund is the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) small grants scheme, and grants are typically awarded in the region of £500-£700. The AONB has other funds available, such as the Sustainable Development Fund, with grants typically awarded for higher amounts. Find out more.

3 Timeline

In 2023-24 there will be two rounds of funding, to ensure the Community & Conservation Fund is responsive to the needs of communities and accessible throughout the year.

  • Round 1: Closes 24th February 2023 for project delivery between April 2023 and 13th March 2024
  • Round 2: Cancelled due to all funds available being distributed in Round 1 of applications - for a possible alternative grant to apply to see the Amenity and Accessibility Fund Round 2

4 Criteria

Applications to the Community & Conservation Fund are assessed on how well they fulfil the three requirements of AONB designation and the aims of the Coast & Heaths AONB Management Strategy, as follows:


Applications should seek to address one or more of the following:

Requirement - To conserve and enhance natural beauty and maintain the special qualities of the landscape

  • Conserve landscape character and enhance the distinctive nature of the AONB
  • Conserve biodiversity and lessen fragmentation of habitats
  • Conserve the historic resources of the area including landscapes, archaeology and the built environment
  • Retain the tranquillity of the area
  • Conserve the geodiversity of the area

Requirement - To manage the assets and resources of the AONB in a sustainable way and seek to meet environmental, economic and social needs

  • Suffolk tourism brand and the tourism industry based on sustainable practices


Requirement - To meet the demand for recreation where this is consistent with the conservation of natural beauty and the management of the land and to help people enjoy, understand and value the AONB

Have access and recreation provision that respects biodiversity, landscape, geodiversity and historic assets

Provide interpretation that improves understanding, guides behaviour and helps people enjoy the AONB

Support community involvement in the active conservation and enhancement of the AONB


More details on the AONB aims can be found in the Management Plan, which is available online. 

5 Monitoring & Publicity

You are required to recognise the funding support provided by the Coast & Heaths AONB Community & Conservation Fund in any publicity you do, such as press releases, copy for newsletters, printed material, displays, reports (as appropriate).

Suggested wording: “This project has been [part] funded by the Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Community & Conservation Fund”


You should use the Coast & Heaths AONB logo in any publicity material relating to the project, as above, or other suitable acknowledgement.

The AONB Grants Officer must see any planned promotional materials in draft, before going to print. This is to help avoid any errors in use of fund name, any

mis-spellings or incorrect ways of referring to the AONB and its fund.

For further guidance on publicity requirements and support available from the AONB Team please see ‘Publicity Guidance for Grant Funded Projects’ produced in 2021. 


A mid-year update (29th September 2023 for Round 1 and 12th January 2024 for Round 2) and a short end of year report (13th March 2024) together with completed Monitoring Forms should be sent to the AONB.

The end of year report should be approx one page and include at least one photo of the project plus any feedback or quotes from participants that the Coast & Heaths AONB has permission to use in its own promotions (such as to further promote the grant giving programme in the AONB newspaper).

6 Payment

Grant money is not usually released until the end of the project and is on receipt of an invoice and a completed monitoring form. In some circumstances, up to 50% of the grant may be requested in advance, to help with issues of cash flow for smaller organisations. 

Before any advance payment is made, applicants will have to provide evidence that the additional resources they need to complete the project will be forthcoming and confirmation that other funding is in place.

7 Terms & Conditions

  1. Community & Conservation Fund projects must fit in with the core purpose of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) designation, by enhancing the natural beauty of the landscape, improving access or benefiting wildlife.
  2. Community & Conservation Grants must be used solely for the purposes specified in the application. Changes must not be made without receiving written approval from the Grants Panel.
  3. Decisions made by the Grants Panel are final and the Coast & Heaths AONB is not obliged to give reasons for any decisions (although these will not be withheld unreasonably).
  4. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, all Community & Conservation Fund projects must be completed to the satisfaction of the Grants Panel by 17th March 2024. A short update is requested for mid term.
  5. Payment of a Community & Conservation grant is conditional upon satisfactory completion of the project, and evidence of this will be evaluated by representatives of the AONB against the information provided in the Application Form. A short report and photo evidence is requested, along with an invoice addressed to the fund.
  6. The AONB reserves the right to withhold or recover payment of all or part of any grant if the aims and objectives of the project are not fully met or if funds remain unspent. The AONB is open to requests for up-front financial support in special circumstances.
  7. The support of the Coast & Heaths AONB Community & Conservation Fund must be acknowledged in any written material published by an applicant as part of, or as a result of, a Community & Conservation Fund project. This will include the use of the Coast & Heaths AONB logo (where appropriate - supplied) and a suitable acknowledgement, such as: ‘This project is supported by the Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Community & Conservation Fund’
  8. The Coast & Heaths AONB reserves the right to use any material submitted by applicants for publicity purposes.
  9. Project costs must be monitored and relevant accounts submitted to the AONB on request.


You are welcome to contact us to discuss your project prior to application, and to discuss the amount you would like to apply for.


The closing dates for applying to the 2023-24 Community & Conservation Fund are at the end of day on the following dates:

  • Round 1: 24th February 2023
  • Round 2: 15th September 2023


Please send your completed application form to:

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01394 445225

AONB Grants Officer

Community & Conservation Fund

Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Saxon House

1 Whittle Road

Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate