The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has received initial support to develop a volunteering project.
The AONB Partnership has worked with Northumberland Wildlife Trust and the Seahouses Development Trust on the project which aims to increase the number and range of opportunities for volunteers on the Northumberland coast.
One of the main outcomes of the project is to match individuals or groups of volunteers to conservation work that will enhance the natural beauty, wildlife habitats or historic features of the coast.
Training and investing in volunteers is also an important element of the project. Re-establishing the Young Rangers group and piloting a community champions scheme were also included in the funding application.
Funding of £13,500 has been awarded to enable the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership to appoint a consultant to develop the project.
This phase will include developing the project aims and initiatives, delivering taster sessions and running consultation events.
Coun John Woodman, chairman of the AONB Partnership, said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided to support this project. The Northumberland coast is a very special place and working together we can make sure it remains so.
“We know that there are many people who live on the coast or nearby who want to help to improve the area and we can’t afford to keep turning them away.
“This project will match those people to jobs that need doing whether it is conserving wildlife habitats, preserving historic buildings or just improving the area in which they live.”
The HLF grant will fund the development phase, which will last about eight months, and will culminate in the submission of an application to HLF for funding to support a three-year delivery phase.
Ivor Crowther, HLF regional manager, said: “The heritage of the Northumberland coast is unique. Nowhere else can you see so many castles and other evidence of 8,000 years of human inhabitation side by side with internationally important areas for wildlife in a place where many people live and work.
“This project will engage people in protecting and enhancing this wonderful place and that is why HLF is pleased to support it.”
Consultants interested in tendering to carry out the development phase should speak to Iain Robson at the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership on 01670 622660.