The inspirational visitor giving scheme, Love the Broads, has been so successful that 12 volunteer Ambassadors across the Broads have been recruited to help to support this exciting scheme.
Set up by the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads Charitable Trust and the Broads Authority in 2012, the aim of the scheme is to raise money to give to projects that protect, preserve and enhance the Broads to benefit local communities and visitors.
The scheme works by recruiting tourism businesses who will ask their customers for a small voluntary donation on top of their bill. All donations collected are then available for local environmental and wildlife projects. The scheme was trialled and modelled on a project in the Lake District which has seen more than £2M raised there and with more than 280 businesses involved.
So far, over 70 businesses in the Broads have signed up, all of which are collecting donations from visitors. This can be by adding a small voluntary contribution to accommodation, bike or canoe hire, or cup of tea or coffee or just by displaying a box of books and badges.
The 12 new Ambassadors include tourism businesses already involved in collecting donations, Trustees of the Broads Trust and local people keen to put a little something back. Their role will be to liaise with businesses within their local area to collect donations, restock badge and book boxes and provide general support and guidance about the scheme.
At a recent training event at How Hill each Ambassador received information and support to help them with their new role as well as a toolbox kitted out with everything they will need.
Jane Nash, owner of self-catering holiday cottage, Spring Cottage at Horning said “We are passionate about the Broads and we have been involved with Love the Broads for some time. We are delighted that so many other businesses are now collecting donations for this special scheme. We work closely with our neighbouring tourism businesses and jumped at the chance of helping to take the scheme forward by being the local Ambassador.”
Nick Barne, Chairman of the Broads Trust said “This is an exciting time for Love the Broads. Whilst we have grown the scheme with over 70 businesses involved, this also gives us challenges in keeping in touch with them, collecting donations and providing more merchandise. We are delighted that we have been able to recruit 12 excellent Ambassadors to work closely with our Development Officer to help us to overcome these challenges. We are most grateful to them”
Last year, over £4,000 was donated by visitors to the Broads to projects which benefitted wildlife and the visitor experience. These included 17 new barn owl boxes, cycle route signage and improved access on an all-weather circular footpath at Carlton and Oulton Marshes Nature Reserve. Two pairs of barn owls have already moved in to their new boxes on the River Yare.
Love the Broads is now welcoming new funding applications and plans to make a total of around £10,000 available for small projects. The application process is straight forward and advice is available for completing the necessary forms which can be found at: www.lovethebroads.org.uk . 100% funding can be available but projects that include an element of matched funding will be welcomed. The deadline for submission of applications for this round of grants is 31st May.
Love the Broads scheme was set up by the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads Charitable Trust and the Broads Authority with the aim of raising money for projects which protect, preserve and enhance the Broads and which will have a positive impact on local communities and visitors.
The Broads Trust currently has vacancies for Trustees and welcomes applicants. For an informal discussion contact Peter Howe on 01603 783096 or visit:
The project has received money from the European Regional Development Fund through the STEP project which promotes sustainable tourism in estuary parks and is also supported by a grant from the Norfolk Coast and Broads Rural Development Programme which is funded by Defra and the EU.
Follow us on Twitter: @LovetheBroads Facebook: www.facebook.com/lovethebroads
For information on Love the Broads, to donate to this exciting initiative or for business sign up go to: www.lovethebroads.org.uk
Thursday 4 September 2014