When it comes to looking after the environment, protecting wildlife and enhancing our quality of life, success depends on everyone doing their bit and contributing to sustainable ways of living and working.

Our *Communities Project Fund aims to help and encourage local projects, big and small, that will explore and develop ideas that bring social, environmental and economic benefits to our communities.

New name, same aim...

*Previously known as the ‘sustainable development fund’, our grant programme has a new name: Communities Project Fund.  The fund is still supporting sustainable development, but we want the focus on community to be clear.  Whether it’s a collection of people, an assemblage of plants and animals, or a joint enterprise offering clear public benefits, we want to help make our communities stronger, happier, healthier and greener.

volunteers, people clearing plant matter, undercliffs


Every year we give financial support to individuals, groups, organisations, and businesses who are passionately involved in projects that create sustainable, happy and thriving communities.

The fund has enabled a wide range of projects including wildlife initiatives, school projects, restoring village features and supporting local festivals.

If you are involved with a project that could benefit from funding, read our frequently asked questions to find out if your project might qualify. 

Communities Project Fund - FAQs

What is the Communities Project Fund (CPF)?
The Communities Project Fund provides discretionary financial support to local initiatives and projects that can demonstrate a commitment to enhancing our local area.

What kinds of projects does the fund support?
Projects must demonstrate support and involvement of communities, business or environmental interests within the National Landscape. We welcome a wide range of applications, for example projects which are looking to:

  • support nature, wildlife and its diversity
  • raise awareness and encourage engagement in the environment
  • improve access, restore or enhance village features, facilities or networks
  • develop heritage/cultural features or events and celebrate local communities.

Do projects have to be based within the East Devon National Landscape(AONB)?
Applicants do not have to be located within the East Devon NL, but must be able to demonstrate a tangible benefit to the NL and deliver our Partnership Plan objectives.

Is there a maximum amount that can be applied for?
The maximum level of grant that can be applied for is £4,000

Will the Communities Project Fund finance projects in full?
No, for all projects applying to the fund a ‘percentage contribution’ is required.

  • For charities or community groups up to 60% of the total project cost is available.
  • For business applicants, up to 60% contribution is available for projects clearly delivering for ‘NL Communities’.
  • A minimum of 10% cash match is required for all projects.
  • In-kind contributions (time/labour/machinery use etc.) will be considered. The allowances per hr/day will be in line with those accepted by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

When can we apply?
Applications for grants will be accepted from 1 April 2023. You can apply at any time after this date, but your project must be financially complete by 28 February 2024.

Projects we have funded



To make an application to the Communities Project Fund you’ll need to read the supporting information provided on this page, then follow the process below:

  • Download our Application Form
  • Refer to our relevant Partnership Plan policies
  • Consider the Sustainability Checklist
  • Complete the form with help from our Guidance Notes
  • Email completed application form to cpf@eastdevon-nl.org.uk
  • Post a signed copy to: East Devon NL Partnership, Kennaway House, Coburg Road, Sidmouth EX10 8NG

Supporting Information

Guidance Notes/ Terms & Conditions

Detailed guidance notes and Terms and Conditions to assist you in making your application to the Communities Project Fund.

Sustainability Checklist

A checklist to help guide Communities Project Fund applications and evaluate how a project meets the criteria for funding.

Partnership Plan Policies

Applications must refer to the management objectives & policies we use when promoting and enhancing the social environmental and economic well-being of the NL.

Next steps

Once we have received your application it will be judged by a panel of five countryside and wildlife specialists and you may be able to get approval in as little as four weeks. The funds can be processed quickly on suitable invoice evidence and we can make arrangements to pay in stages if practical.

Need more advice?

For an informal chat about your project and eligibility for funding 

Call 01404 46663 or email cpf@eastdevon-nl.org.uk

Alternatively you can submit an ‘expression of interest’ form and we’ll get back to you.

CPF Logo

All successful applicants are requested to use the Communities Project fund logo on any publicity or promotional materials produced in relation to the funded project.

More to Explore

East Devon AONB Projects

We lead, partner and support projects that focus on a wide range of themes, including landscape and heritage, environmental quality and climate, biodiversity, recreation and tourism.

Outdoors & Active

Whether you prefer walking, cycling, running or playing, everyone feels happier and healthier when they spend time in nature being more active. 

East Devon Way

Discover the hidden gems of East Devon and explore this much loved walking route that links 40 miles of public footpaths, trails and bridleways.