The Dorset National Landscape Fund aims to get local people thinking about how they can help keep the landscape in great shape for future generations to enjoy.

The deadline to apply for funding is 21st April 2024.

Pymore reedbed volunteers (c) Richard Gillingham

About the Fund

Dorset National Landscape is a nationally important protected landscape, with vibrant communities and a wealth of wildlife and heritage. Each year the Dorset National Landscape Fund (previously known as Sustainable Development Fund) supports projects that will help conserve, enhance and celebrate the natural beauty of this special area.

The Fund aims to support local people with projects that help keep the landscape in great shape for future generations to enjoy. Now in its eighteenth year, we are proud to have funded nearly 300 local projects, all very different but all with the local landscape at their core.

Hope Corner Farm Arts Hub Project 2021

What do we fund?

The priorities for the Dorset National Landscape are laid out in the latest Dorset National Landscape Management Plan which sets out priorities to safeguard and celebrate this fantastic landscape. We hope that the projects supported by the Dorset National Landscape Fund will help achieve some of these priorities.

You may have your own ideas about what makes your area special and what needs to be done – we can offer you some support to help transform your ideas into action.

Bridport Youth Dance at Abbotsbury 2023

The Dorset National Landscape Fund can support projects that:

Help deliver the Dorset National Landscape Management Plan and at least one of the following:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty and heritage of the Dorset National Landscape
  • Support the social and economic wellbeing of local communities in sustainable ways that care for the environment
  • Have the support and involvement of local people or meet a recognised local need

In addition, this year we are particularly keen to support projects that achieve one or more of the following aims:

  • Encourage and support underserved communities to connect to the National Landscape including young people, people with disabilities and people from ethnic minority backgrounds
  • Remove barriers to all people’s enjoyment and involvement in the countryside
  • Bring organisations and people together in tackling problems or promoting new ideas
  • Encourage links between urban groups and those resident in the Dorset National Landscape
  • Demonstrate innovation or best practice
  • Conserve and enhance the special qualities of the Dorset National Landscape
  • Address the climate and ecological emergency

You can use a grant from the Dorset National Landscape Fund to establish new projects, or to add value or new dimensions to existing projects. Projects don’t need to be in the Dorset National Landscape boundary but must benefit the area and meet the aims of the fund.

Anyone (individual, group or organisation) can apply to the Dorset National Landscape Fund. At the application stage, there are conditions that apply – our Terms & Conditions and also our Privacy Policy. If your project is successful, there will also be conditions that you will have to abide by to ensure the Fund is used in the best way for its intended purpose.

We have £30,000 in the Dorset National Landscape Fund pot this year.

A typical grant is likely to be in the region of £2-5k, but we are open to considering larger projects where there is a significant proportion of capital expenditure.

The fund can support up to 50% of the costs of most projects or 75% if you are a voluntary group or charity. The Fund cannot be matched by Exchequer funds – i.e. money from a Government department or agency (e.g. Natural England, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission etc.). In-kind contributions and volunteer time can be used as match funding; the amounts can be found on the application form.

We do not fund projects that support direct commercial transactions for financial gain.

You can find the Application Form (to be completed alongside the guidance notes), Finance Form and Terms & Conditions below.

The Fund is open between 11th March – 21st April 2024, but do contact us anytime for an informal discussion, as unspent funds may be available at other times of year.

Once submitted, your application will be reviewed by the Dorset National Landscape team and we may contact you to ask for additional supporting information. In mid-May a panel of experts will meet to consider all the applications we have received. We will let you know if your application has been successful or not soon after this, no later than the beginning of June 2024.

Please remember we are unable to fund works retrospectively. Grants are paid upon project completion upon submission of suitable evidence.

Hogchester (c) Nick Howe

Need more advice?

We are very happy to talk with you about your project ideas, either over the phone or online. To talk or arrange a meeting, please contact Kate Townsend, Dorset National Landscape Project Support Officer.

Projects we have funded

View a selection of case studies of projects previously supported by the Dorset National Landscape Fund (formerly known as the Dorset AONB Sustainable Development Fund).