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West Dorset: £1m boost to help sustainable projects
Farmers in West Dorset and older people struggling with fuel bills are also set for help from the cash boost.
Dorset Community Action is one of ten projects across England each receiving up to £1 million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Communities Living Sustainably initiative.
The scheme is focused on inspiring people to reap financial, environmental and health gains by adapting the way they live and work and connect together.
The West Dorset project will be supporting isolated older people at risk of fuel poverty, helping vulnerable fishing and farming communities become more resilient to climate change and building a sustainable local food and fuel supply with just over £960,000 from the fund.
Dorset Community Action will lead a local partnership working in Bridport, the surrounding villages and Dorchester, all facing a whole host of environmental challenges due to the mix of rural communities, high levels of farmland and coastal fisheries and the number of stone-walled homes, many not connected to mains gas.
One in four Dorset residents is aged over 65 and many can become particularly isolated in rural areas as well as being vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather and at risk of falling into food and fuel poverty.
Targeted activities will be run to address the needs of these different communities, and will include a Draught Busters programme, where local volunteers will be trained to advise people on making their homes warmer and more energy efficient.
An energy co-operative will also be established to develop enterprises, such as a wood fuel scheme using local woodland supplies from woods in the Bridport area.
Meanwhile a local food partnership will be set up to link farmers and fishermen across the area and give more people the opportunity to grow their own food and to show them how to use solar power.
Local schools will also be supported to increase their knowledge of sustainable living, and achieve Eco-School status.
Georgina Morgan, chief executive of Dorset Community Action, said: “We are thrilled to be given the chance to make a real and positive change for communities through a number of brilliant new sustainability projects.”