Huge funding boost for schemes in South Downs National Park

COMMUNITY projects in the South Downs National Park have been given a £400,000 kick start during the first year of national park authority.

Among them are Milland village shop and Coultershaw Bean Pump near Petworth.

The projects all received grants from the national park’s sustainable community fund, which has committed £400,000 to 57 projects and in most cases the support meant they could attract further funding – bringing the estimated value of the projects to nearly £3 million.

At a special event to mark the first birthday of the authority MP for East Hampshire Damian Hinds said:

“I am impressed with the dedication and hard work that these people have given to improve the life of their communities. Their success shows what can be achieved when people from across the South Downs and the national park join forces.

Margaret Paren, authority chairman said: “We want the South Downs National Park to improve the lives of people who live and work here. That’s what the sustainable community fund is all about and why I’m so proud to celebrate these people’s achievements.”

Among the projects which benefited are Milland Community Shop which was officially opened last year by actor Hugh Bonneville.

In addition Coultershaw Beam Pump near Petworth also received support. Restoration work has been carried out to a 19th century warehouse and engine house there to create education and exhibition space and improved access. The project has been carried out so local communities and visitors can learn the industrial history of the South Downs.

Other projects include a new eco-friendly visitor centre which promotes more efficient use of water at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire and a timber trailer has been acquired to make it easier for volunteers to clear invading trees from endangered heathland in Lynchmere.