COMMUNITIES OFFERED CHANCE TO PROMOTE THEIR AREA

People living within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are being offered the opportunity to tell people why the place where they live is so unique.

The organisation that exists to oversee the Cotswolds AONB is encouraging communities to apply for a new grant that will fund up to 50% of the cost of a small scale interpretation scheme.

The grant is being provided as part of the 'Caring for the Cotswolds Project', which is supported by a 1.4M grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

From historic buildings to interesting landscape features, many areas in the Cotswolds have a story to tell and this is a chance for local people who know their area well to tell others about the things that make their parts of the AONB special.

To be eligible for the grant the project must be within the AONB and help promote a better understanding and appreciation of the Cotswolds landscape, the need to conserve it and should explain what it has to offer to residents and visitors.

John Tabor, manager of the Caring for the Cotswolds Project said:

"This is a fantastic opportunity for those who feel connected to the Cotswolds landscape to channel their enthusiasm and get involved in a project that will benefit their area by encouraging people to enjoy and appreciate its unique qualities. Tourism is a major source of income in the Cotswolds with around 38 million day visits to the area each year and so local communities will certainly reap the benefits of their efforts if they take part."

Proposals can be: web-based interpretation, leaflets or interpretation boards.

All applications should be received by the Cotswolds Conservation Board no later than Friday 13 July 2007 and any grant aided work should be completed by October.

For more information contact: John Tabor 01451 862032/Becky Smith 01451 862038

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Notes to editors

The Caring for the Cotswolds Project is also offering additional grant funding for the repair of drystone walls, the conservation or creation of locally distinctive features in Cotswold villages and towns and grassland restoration.

'Caring for the Cotswolds' is a five year project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund based on four interrelated areas of work. They are drystone walls, unimproved grassland, local distinctiveness and interpretation all of which reflect the key characteristics of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is cared for by the Cotswolds Conservation Board - an independent organisation with 40 members, 17 nominated by local authorities, eight by parish councils and 15 appointed by Government.

The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is the largest of 40 AONBs in England and Wales and is protected to ensure that its beauty and special character are conserved. It covers 2038 sq kilometres (790 sq miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.

Press contact: Claire Cunningham

Tel: 01451 862003

Cotswolds Conservation Board, Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire. GL54 3JH

Tel: 01451 86200 Website: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk