Application Deadlines



The Cotswolds AONB Sustainable Development Fund

The Cotswolds AONB Sustainable Development Fund is a regional grants scheme, available to individuals, groups or businesses that have ideas or projects that will improve the Cotswolds both now and in the future.

The Fund aims to encourage and support community-based projects that look to provide a clear benefit to the Cotswolds AONB, with particular focus on the environment, community and/or local economy. Applicants are not required to be based in the AONB, however, all projects must be able to demonstrate the positive impacts on the Cotswolds.

The Cotswolds AONB Sustainable Development Fund is coordinated and managed by the Cotswolds Conservation Board with resources provided by Defra.

What is Sustainable Development?

Sustainable development in the Cotswolds AONB will conserve and enhance the environmental, economic and community well-being of the area to ensure an improved quality of life for everyone, now and for future generations. Achieving sustainable development will normally require working towards four, interconnected, goals:
  • social progress which meets the needs of everyone
  • protecting and enhancing the environment
  • ensuring a diverse and prosperous rural economy (which supports the conservation and enhancement of the area's special qualities)
  • the prudent use of natural resources.
Individual projects can place particular emphasis on any one of these four goals. Ideally, they should seek to make progress on all of them, but must demonstrate no negative impact on any.
sample sustainability checklist can be downloaded here. Completing this list will help you assess how well your project fits the fund’s criteria.


How much is available?

Grants are usually awarded for 50% of project costs. However, this can be extended to 75% for projects led by non-profit making organizations. Grants ranging from a few hundred pounds up to £8,000 are available for the 2017/18 round of funding.

Projects can include the use of volunteers as an ‘in-kind’ contribution towards the total project cost.

Who can apply?

Public, private, voluntary sector, individuals, businesses or community groups can apply. Individuals or businesses can only be beneficiaries where the project shows a clear benefit to the wider community.

What type of projects are eligible?

Projects must meet ALL of the essential criteria and at least ONE of the desirable criteria listed below. Examples of previous projects funded through the SDF scheme can be viewed on this page.

Essential criteria
  • Help deliver the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s Management Plan for the AONB.
    This means that the project must address ONE or more of the following issues:

    • Landscape and Geology;
    • Biodiversity
    • Historic Environment
    • Sustainable Resources
    • Living and Working in the Cotswolds
    • Farming and Rural Land Use
    • Forestry, Woodland and Trees
    • Tourism, Recreation and Access
    • Transport
    • Planning & Development

  • further the purposes of the AONB to conserve and enhance natural beauty of the area.
  • promote sustainable development
  • have the demonstrable support or involvement of communities
  • be complementary to key local, regional or national strategies
  • funding cannot be retrospective
Desirable criteria
  • demonstrate innovation or best practice
  • link community, economy, culture and environment
  • develop skills and “capacity building” in the community
  • involve young people
  • combat social exclusion and promote diversity
  • bring organisations and people together to co-operate in tackling problems or promoting new ideas
  • encourage links between rural and urban groups
  • lever in contributions from other sources
  • have little access to alternative public funding
  • add value or new dimensions to existing sustainability projects

Application process

Applicants are initially encouraged to discuss their idea for a project with the Sustainable Development Officer to ensure the project is suitable for an SDF grant.

Projects valued at £2,500 or over
Applicants are asked to submit a brief project proposal outlining the project aims and outcomes. Proposals with a project cost of over £2,500 are referred to the Grants Sub-committee for consideration. Members have a range of interests and experience. Applications will be assessed against the fund’s aims and criteria. If the committee decides the proposal is a suitable SDF project then the applicant will be encouraged to submit an application form, further detailing the project budget and intended targets. Applicants will then be notified of the Sub-committee’s decision within 2 weeks of the Grants Sub-committee meeting.
Projects valued under £2,500
Projects valued under £2,500 are asked to submit a project proposal and application form as above. However, in this instance, applications are decided upon by the Sustainable Development Fund Officer.

Who to contact

Please contact Edward Bonn, Rural Skills and Grants Officer  on 01451 862002 or via email  to discuss you project idea or to find out more about the Sustainable Development Fund.


Previous Projects

Below are a few of the projects we have been able to help with the Cotswolds AONB Sustainable Development Fund.  
Click on the links below to find out more.