The local community has always been the heart of East Devon and that’s why in 2022, we awarded over 30 Small Community Grants to support community-led ideas and initiatives.

It is exciting to reflect upon the positive impact our funding has had on the local community, and we look forward to sharing some of these stories with you.

Let’s see how the grant has helped Chardstock Eco Group who were awarded £500 in March 2022. They used the funding for their river restoration project as they wanted to raise awareness of the low water quality in the Kit Brook catchment and issue a call to action to improve it. A variety of equipment was purchased including trail cameras, small mammal traps, wildlife guides and an ammonia testing kit which were put to good use during a practical lesson for final year pupils at Chardstock Primary School. The children were taught all about river health, water quality monitoring and invertebrates – in fact, they received feedback that some of the kids were so interested they could not stop chatting about it! A village meeting was also held for residents to discuss what the community could do to help the river which shed light on the problems and got local people talking.

Children of Chardstock Primary School testing the water quality. Lots of work has taken place since and the river restoration project continues to achieve, including the installation of leaky dams and school children raising sea trout from eggs and releasing into the river.

Children of Chardstock Primary took part in Fish Eggs in the Classroom

As a result of this, we are delighted to reveal that the seven sites on the Kit Brook have received a new water quality score of B. That’s an increase from B- in 2021! While this doesn’t sound like a huge difference, it is important to remember that rivers take a long time to restore. This certainly isn’t quick work, but the team are certainly in it for the long haul.

What a brilliant outcome and we are so pleased that our Small Community Grant has had such a positive impact.