Support for the bees and Sussex community projects thanks to new grants

Pollinators and people get helping hand from the latest National Park grants
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Creating a new nature hub, bringing a “lost village” back to life and surveying important buried archaeological remains are among the exciting projects to benefit from funding.

A range of inspiring initiatives across West Sussex and East Sussex have been awarded grant funding from the Sustainable Communities Fund (SCF). The dedicated community fund is a partnership between the South Downs National Park Trust, the official independent charity for the National Park, and the South Downs National Park Authority.

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The Bees and Seas Project has been awarded a grant of £7,500 to help enhance links between the South Downs and the coast for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies.

Southdowns Park Bees SUS-210218-131149001Southdowns Park Bees SUS-210218-131149001
Southdowns Park Bees SUS-210218-131149001

The initiative plans to create a pollinator hub in Brooklands Park, Worthing, by transforming an area of derelict land into a community garden, including a bee-friendly lawn, orchard trees, beehives, bug hotels and herb planting.

Outdoor classroom areas would also be provided for children to learn about pollinators and biodiversity. The project aims to extend habitat links for bees to Dankton Barnyard in Sompting, within the National Park, where there is already an existing community garden.

A £6,000 grant was approved for a community-led project at Tide Mills, near Newhaven. The village was condemned as ‘unfit for habitation’ in 1936 and abandoned in 1939.

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Spearheaded by LYT Productions, the creative heritage project plans to bring the fascinating story of the abandoned village to life through a series of digital, artistic and immersive experiences, culminating in a celebratory week in September of this year.

Southdowns Virew of Tide Mills Village SUS-210218-131201001Southdowns Virew of Tide Mills Village SUS-210218-131201001
Southdowns Virew of Tide Mills Village SUS-210218-131201001

The village dates back to the Tidal Mills built in the 1760s, but has also been home to a First World War seaplane station, racing stables, a radio station, a beach hospital, and even a pineapple pit. The last residents of Tide Mills were evicted during the Second World War and the village fell into ruin.

Heritage is also at the fore of another project to benefit from the Sustainable Communities Fund. A grant of £5,000 was awarded to Liss Archaeology to help buy a magnetometer, which measures the strength of magnetic fields in the ground. The five-year project would see non-invasive, geophysical surveys carried out at a number of key sites to find previously unknown, and potentially significant, archaeology.

A number of smaller grants were also awarded. Butts Brow, Eastbourne – Exploration and archaeological excavation of the Neolithic monument at to interpret and explore the cultural heritage of the area was awarded £1,800

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The Dark Night Skies Project, which encouraes Sussex residents, including schoolchildren, to understand and enjoy the night skies across the National Park and beyond, was given £2,000.

A visitor information board to help people understand the history and origins of Fulking Ram Pump, in West Sussex, was given £1,039.

The Living Coast Undersea Experience, to develop the educational programme in schools to teach young people about the wildlife at Beachy Head West Marine Conservation Zone was awarded £2,000.

Doug Jones, who chairs the SCF grants panel, said: “This special landscape is dependent on volunteers and community organisations who give their time and support but often lack funds.

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“We’re pleased to be able to award these grants to a variety of really inspirational projects. They are all themed around health and wellbeing, celebrating heritage, giving nature a helping hand and connecting people with place. These are core areas of the National Park Authority’s work and lie at the heart of our five-year Partnership Management Plan, which aims to bring partners together to create an even better home for people and nature. I’m certainly excited to see the progress of these projects over the coming months and years.”

For more information on the Sustainable Communities Fund and to find out about applying for a grant visit

See also: Sussex people reveal what it is like to live with the effects of Long Covid