Blue Flower

Grant Awards

When we are awarded grants, we are aware that its public money and we have a duty to spend it wisely. When I create and plan projects I ensure they will benefit the public as much as possible, not just visitors to the mill. This is made easier because the Nar Valley Way public footpath passes the mill on the opposite bank, giving walkers and cyclists the chance to see our work.

Examples of how the projects were designed to benefit the public include: Replacing the shipping container with a wooden shed to give much better views of the site; Making a sloping bank in our wildflower meadow so flowers can be seen from the footpath; Putting bird boxes and Bat boxes on the opposite bank above the footpath and in trees on site where they are clearly visible from the path; Grey Wagtail nest boxes and Kingfisher nest Tunnel on our wall / bank so they can be seen from the path; Signs on the footpath so walkers can see what we are doing.

Tools bought with grant funds enable us to clear fallen trees from the public footpath when necessary, strim the path regularly, as well as keeping our gardens and lawns looking good which can be seen from the path. We bought a bird feeder cleaning kit which is used regularly to help prevent bird flu spreading.

Background

People asked why we had two grant funded projects running together. We applied for a grant because we needed a ride on mower to cut our large areas of grass at the mill. Frank used to bring his own mowers and cut the grass, but he became too ill and sadly passed away in 2020.

In 2021 we were kindly loaned a ride on mower, but in early summer at the village open day I was told it might have to be returned, so I realised we needed to buy our own. We didn’t have enough in the bone mill funds to buy one and I didn’t particularly want to use my own money, although that was the backup plan.

I suggested seeking grant funding to buy a mower. A project is needed for a grant, so I suggested making a wildflower meadow in our wasteland area, as we had often discussed having a wildflower garden. They need lots of preparation by harrowing, rolling and seed spreading, also a lot of cutting throughout the year, we'd also need to cut paths through the area every summer, so a mower would be fully justified for this project.

I applied for a Greening Our Communities grant from Norfolk Community Foundation. During discussions with the grant fund advisor, it seemed we were unlikely to be awarded this grant, and he advised me of a Green Community Grant from Breckland Council, so I applied for that in case we didn't get the NCF grant.

I was surprised when in August 2021 we were awarded the NCF grant from my original application. However, Barclays Bank caused us major problems as they would not let us know if grant funds had been paid into our account, we had to wait nearly 2 months for a bank statement before we could spend any money. The first thing we bought was the mower, we got it just before the price went up by nearly £300. We keep it securely off site and take it to the mill when needed.

In November 2021 we were also awarded the Breckland Council Green Community grant. I planned to refuse the money as our project had already been funded, but during discussions it was suggested we might be able to use the money for something different and I realised this idea had potential. We only had two weeks to formally accept the second grant, so I very quickly came up with our alternative project for Renewable energy, Helping Wildlife, Encouraging Cycling and Re-Cycle & Re-Use.

Peter Wilkinson, our District Councillor, has always supported the bone mill including endorsing our grant application. I sent Peter the new project proposal to ask if we could change the scope and he got it approved. This gave us a year to complete both projects, which is why they both ran together. See the Wildflower Meadow and Green Community Grant pages for details of each project. 

We chose suppliers carefully, being Green Grants we bought locally where possible. Our mower was the largest purchase, from Breckland Mowers of Attleborourgh. Many other items from both grants were from Amazon Smile before this program closed in 2023, we chose to support British wildlife charities. Most bird boxes were made by local Men's Sheds. Towed accessories were carefully considered before purchase. For more information see the purchases sections of the Wildflower Meadow and Green Community Grant project pages.

Work and Completion

The majority of the wildflower meadow and green grant projects were completed when we had less volunteers than we have now, at many work parties there was just myself and Eddie, so we achieved a lot in the year it took to complete the projects. Recently the new volunteers Ryan, Anne Marie and Howard have helped with maintenance of the meadow, filling and cleaning bird feeders and clearing out nest boxes. Graeme helped us with fitting bird boxes, moving the container and building the shed.

The Munford family who own the site gave us a lot of help, Fred did all the earthworks for the wildflower meadow, designed and built our shed and moved the old container off site with help from Andrew and James.  Debra, Emma and David also helped with the projects, clearing out the trench next to the meadow, putting up bird boxes, clearing weeds from the meadow and tidying up the site after earthworks. Beryl gave us more wildflower seeds, bird food, feeders and bat boxes and let us use one of the forklifts to put up Kestrel and Bat boxes.

Graham Bartlett, Project Co-ordinator                      Interactive Plan         Site Activity          Volunteer 

Wildflower Meadow Project                Gallery of Meadow in Flower                  Meadow Maintenance

Green Grant Project            Nest Boxes & Cameras            Install Solar Panels          Wildlife Habitat