Enhancing the environment in Dedham Vale and Stour Valley

14th March 2022

Charities and community groups that are helping to enhance the environment in the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley areas are encouraged to apply to the Stour Valley Environment Fund (SVEF) for grants to support their work.

The Fund was set up by the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Stour Valley, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation.

It provides grants of up to £2,500 to charities and voluntary groups that help to enhance the local environment, on both Essex and Suffolk sides of the river Stour.

Since the Fund was set up 10 years ago, it has awarded nearly £30,000 to a wide range of charitable groups that work to maintain the area as one of outstanding natural beauty. The Fund can support core running costs, capital items, and project costs.

A previous grant recipient is Friends of East Town Park. They received £1,500 to replace a wheelchair accessible viewing platform that overlooks the River Stour, at Haverhill. This has helped residents to connect with the environment and provided a calming space people could visit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another supported charity, A Rocha UK, reported a 200% increase in visitors using the public footpaths in Foxearth Meadows during the COVID-19 lockdowns, which is home to 50 species of bird, 20 species of dragonfly, and over 150 different species of plants. We awarded them £1,250 to buy the gardening equipment needed to maintain Foxearth’s waterways and help get the local community involved in maintaining the area.

Helen, who volunteers alongside her son Jonathan at Foxearth Meadows, shared how beneficial the project has been for them both: “Jonathan is autistic and has severe learning difficulties, but loves being active and being outdoors, so the volunteer mornings have been brilliant for him.

“What has blessed me most has been to see him regarded as a valuable part of the team and treated as a regular person.”

Also supported is Witham Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade who received £1,400 to replace a boardwalk in Peter’s Vale that had become unsafe. They used 100% recycled plastic decking boards instead of traditional wood.

Who can apply:

How to apply

The application guidelines for the SVEF Fund can be found on the Dedham Vale & Stour Valley website here


Donations can be made to the SVEF Fund here.