The charity, Friends of Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £8,800 to strengthen its future and attract new members.
Friends of Nidderdale AONB work to promote, enhance and conserve Nidderdale AONB for the public benefit, and is run by a small group of voluntary Trustees. ‘Stronger Friends in Nidderdale AONB’ aims to build the charity’s capacity to make a sustainable difference to the heritage, people, and communities in Nidderdale AONB.
Situated in the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale AONB is one of Britain’s finest landscapes and is one of 46 AONBs in the UK, designated as areas of beauty worthy of protection.
Chair of Friends of Nidderdale AONB, Heather Garnett, said: “We are passionate about Nidderdale AONB and supporting local projects for the benefit of local communities and visitors, and have a key role in conserving the area. The Trustees have detailed knowledge of the AONB, but we are seeing income and membership levels decrease jeopardising the future of our organisation.”
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the grant will kick start the charity on a journey to greater resilience; it will pay for an external review of the Friends scheme and recommend changes for a robust future.
Its current 100 volunteer members and trustees actively host events and inform heritage projects in the AONB. It raises funds and supports worthwhile projects in the area, such as Nidderdale in the City, a flagship outreach event that provided family-friendly countryside experiences to inner-city Leeds, and the recent Prince’s Countryside Fund Farm project, providing business support to family farms businesses in Nidderdale.
Heather added: “This grant fund will allow us to explore new and imaginative ways to look at alternative ways of generating income and support, so we can not only survive but thrive. In this Year of Green Action, never before has the natural and ecological environment been so crucial and this investment will help safeguard our work in the future.”
Nidderdale AONB is home to 11 reservoirs, a World Heritage Site, more than 500 listed buildings and nationally and internationally important habitats and wildlife. Around 16,000 live in the 233 square miles, which attracts around 1.4 million visitors per year.
Sarah Kettlewell, Manager at Nidderdale AONB, said: “This review will provide the platform for Friends of Nidderdale AONB to develop a new strategic plan supported by a training and mentoring programme for Trustees. It’s an initiative all staff at Nidderdale AONB whole-heartedly support.”