Sustainable Communities, Development and Business.

The Peak District Sustainability Development Fund also known as the SDF forms part of the national Park grant scheme.  The fund itself aims to support and invest in businesses and projects that benefit the park through their activities.  A range of different types of contributions to the park are considered when funding is allocated, which consider social, cultural and economic benefits.  One of the biggest considerations however is the environment, with the fund being especially keen on helping business that try to reduce their impact on the natural environment.

The concept of sustainable development revolves around making sure current activities, whether these are business related or not, do not impact future generations in a negative way.  The purpose therefore of sustainable development in the Peak District is to ensure that future generations of visitors, residents and business owners can enjoy a good quality of life.  Preserving the natural environment is therefore a key consideration when it comes to sustainability.

When it comes to applying for a sustainable development grants, businesses must be shown to be incorporating sustainability into their projects.  There are two main purposes for the existence of a national park, which must either be improved by a project or at the very least not impacted upon negatively.  The first of these is conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Peak district national park, with the second being the promotion of opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the Peak District National Park’s special qualities.  The first of these criteria may be achieved by businesses that make sure that their activities to not impact the local environment, whether this is ensuring that habitats of animals are not destroyed, or building conservation areas.  The second of these criteria may involve helping promote sustainable and responsible usage of the park.  This can range from promoting simple concepts such as fire responsibility, to ensuring visitors come prepared for the environment that they will find themselves in.

As well as fulfilling these criteria the national park authority also has a further aim of helping to nurture the communities that live within the national park, both economically and socially.  This therefore means that businesses are more likely to receive grants if they can provide jobs for residents, or improve the life of locals.

Applying for a grant from The National Park Grant Scheme can be done by any individual, business or group, whether regardless of whether they are from the private, public or charity sector.  Those who apply may come from inside or outside the national park boundary, though all projects must be linked to the park and the previously talked about purposes of the grant scheme.  It is advisable that applicants to the scheme can highlight if possible that they have backing from a local community, as well as having explored the likely benefits of the project.  Grants themselves are awarded based on the successful completion of projects, and come in the form of expenditure reimbursement.

The funding itself can be used for a range of different expenses which may be incurred by the undertaking of a project.  These may include labour costs, materials required for the project, equipment used as well as studies carried out to access the overall feasibility of the project.

Grants themselves may vary in size from very small amounts to several thousand pounds.  The total amount of the project paid for by the grant varies from 75% for community and environmental projects to 50% for business projects.  The rest of project funding may come from individuals or other grants.  The time put into the project for those undertaking it, as well those who are volunteering can also be included as the proposers contribution to overall costs.