Thousands of pounds worth of grant funding is available to help Cotswold villages and towns conserve or create locally distinctive features such as wells, village pumps and memorials.

The local distinctiveness scheme which is delivered by the Cotswolds Conservation Board's 'Caring for the Cotswolds Project' provides a grant which covers up to 50% of the costs of any work carried out.

Eligible projects must conserve and enhance local heritage or focus on installing new features which reflect local distinctiveness. These could include; milestones, signs, gate posts, memorials, seats, railings, pumps and wells, in fact anything that helps to make a local area special.

Project manager for Caring for the Cotswolds John Tabor said;

"The Cotswolds Conservation Board works to help communities conserve and enhance the Cotswolds AONB and this is a great opportunity for people to identify features in their village or town that could benefit from a grant and apply. Applications for new features which reflect the character of the area in their design are also very welcome."

The Caring for the Cotswolds project is also offering additional grant funding for the repair of drystone walls, the conservation or creation of locally distinctive features in Cotswold villages and towns, grassland restoration and the development of interpretative material to help communities explain features of local interest to visitors

The deadline for grant applications is 13th July 2007 and any grant aided work should be completed by October.

For more information please contact: Jonathan Gahan: 01451 862002 / John Tabor: 01451 862032.


Notes to editors:

The local distinctiveness scheme is part of a larger £2.8m project delivered by the Cotswolds Conservation Board called, 'Caring for the Cotswolds', which ends in December. Supported by a £1.4m lottery grant, the five year project focuses on four interrelated areas all designed to practically conserve the Cotswolds. These are local distinctiveness, drystone walls, unimproved grassland and interpretation.

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by the Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation with 40 members, 17 nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 15 appointed by Government.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board acts as an advisor to planning departments of the17 local authorities within the AONB.

The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.

With its rolling hills and valleys the Cotswolds is the largest of 40 AONBs in England and Wales and is protected to ensure that its beauty and special character are conserved. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.

Press contact: Claire Cunningham

Tel: 01451 862003

Cotswolds Conservation Board Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH

Tel: 01451 862000 Website: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk