Avon Valley pilot

Promoting & celebrating the business & cultural diversity of the Avon Valley (2008-09)

Over several meetings in the course of 2 years, Sara brought together over 25 local businesses (including schools, farmers and self-employed creatives) to build connections  and harness resources into an annual festival. We wanted to promote and celebrate The Avon Valley – Moor to Sea – with its: natural beauty; wealth of local businesses working from or on the land; community of local artists, musicians, writers, etc.; number of local schools hungry for local integration.


  • enhance – through awareness and collaboration – economic and sustainable progress of local businesses;
  • embrace and thus be an example of the concept of LOCAL BEING BEST, cutting down unnecessary travel, supermarket purchases, etc. This could only serve to enrich the community;
  • encourage/promote local tourism and educational opportunities.


In 2008, the South Devon Coastal Local Action Group (SDCLAG) won a bid for £1.8 million to support projects and local initiatives. Sara’s project proposal was received with interest after several meetings with the project officer to decide on ways forward. She began the process of applying for an EU Rural Development Agency (RDA) Enablement Fund. This was to be match funded by a successful grant received by The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB – as part of it’s 50th birthday celebrations). 

Despite Sara’s 2 year commitment to the cause, she decided to pull out of the project; the application procedure for funding became too lengthy and complicated. There was also concern from the RDA appraisers that, while the project was an exciting one, the risk of success was questionable because Sara was running the project single-handedly.