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Lake District rangers’ gift to local communities this Christmas

The Winter Droving event at Pooley Bridge which benefitted from a Lake District National Park £1,000 community grant. Photo credit Graham Wynne Photography.

We’re all thinking of giving presents at this time of year and rangers from the Lake District National Park are no different.

Grants of up to £2000 for each of the five areas within the National Park will be awarded to local projects over the next year, so communities are being asked to consider what they’d put on their Christmas wish list.

For over the past six years area rangers, through the Communities Fund, have gifted £320,000 to 140 local projects park-wide. And looking ahead to 2019 there is a further £10,000 available to support local communities over the next year.

The fund helps projects that contribute to the sustainability and wellbeing of local communities, improve local landscapes, celebrate the historic environment or support carbon reduction.

Area ranger for the west of the National Park, Rec Cathey said: “It’s great to take this opportunity to look back at all 140 local projects we’ve already supported through the Communities Fund and also ask local projects to consider applying for future assistance. These grants do have to meet strict criteria and deliver tangible community benefits but the process is straightforward and the money is available to help.

“All of our rangers are thrilled to be able to support communities in their areas and give something back to local projects. Interested groups can speak direct with their local area ranger or have a look at the communities’ page on our website.”

Earlier this year the Eden Arts Winter Droving event in Pooley Bridge was awarded a £1,000 grant. Barton Parish Council applied for this as a way to encourage people to visit Pooley Bridge and highlight the businesses and community of the village, in preparation for the closure of the bridge next year during flooding repair work.

Sam Bunting from Barton Parish Council said: “The event was a fantastic spectacle with many visitors enjoying the torchlight procession, bonfire and refreshments in the village and it was great for the National Park to show support to a community-led event, we very much appreciate their input.

“We very much hope to repeat it next year when the bridge will be down – a great opportunity to encourage locals and visitors alike into the village during what is bound to be a challenging time for local businesses.”

West Cumbria Rivers Trust was awarded £2,000 toward their Adopt a Beck project. The project aims to improve water quality at Dash Beck, near Bassenthwaite, by training local volunteers, providing equipment and helping with litter pick events to keep the area beautiful.

By gifting High Wray Village Hall £3,000 in the south of the park for new heaters in the village hall, the fund has helped many local community groups who use the hall regularly.

In the west of the park £500 was granted to the Eskdale community for a wet weather teepee which was used at the Esk Fest music event and numerous times throughout the year by the school, local community groups and at Eskdale Show.

And, in the central and south east area Brigsteer Community Orchard Group were given a grant this year to purchase a specialist ladder to make it safer for fruit picking and caring for local trees.

More information on the Communities Fund can be found here.

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