£100,000 of grant aid is available in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The money, from the Sustainable Development Fund, is on offer up to March 2006 for business and community projects which help sustainability in the Cotswolds.

Projects must have a positive impact on the AONB and applications can range from a few hundred pounds up to £25,000.

John Mills, Project Development Officer at the Conservation Board, said;

"The fund is designed to further the environmental, social or economic development of the AONB. This really means helping to conserve the AONB and supporting local communities.

"Anyone can apply and the grants can fund up to 75% of the costs of the project - in exceptional cases 100% may be given to voluntary bodies."

Elsewhere in the country the money has been used to support tourism, festivals, public transport and recycling.

The funding comes from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and is allocated and managed by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

John Mills added;

"The money allows us to encourage new ideas and experimental projects which can really have long-term benefits for the Cotswolds.

"We are keen to talk to individuals, groups, the private sector, public bodies, local authorities and charities about schemes they may have thought about, but have never had money to develop."

For an application form and more details about the Sustainable Development Fund contact the Conservation Board on 01451 862000 or visit :