THE Jurassic Coast Trust has received a grant of £68,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Growing the Jurassic Coast Community project, it was announced today.

The project aims to recruit and train 250 volunteers and increase community engagement with the World Heritage Site so that it can be better cared for and understood.

Starting with the recruitment of a dedicated Coordinator for 18 months, the project will see a wide range of volunteering opportunities being created, including kickstarting the search for 40 new Jurassic Coast Ambassadors.

These Ambassadors will bring their own skills and passion for the Jurassic Coast to the project and use them to generate wider community interest and support, for example by running guided walks, giving talks, coordinating local beach cleans, organising fundraising activities or creating new materials and web content.

The project will also aim to provide further momentum to the already successful Jurassic Coast Business Partner Scheme, which currently includes local businesses like Hive Beach Café, West Dorset Leisure Holidays, Devon Cliffs Holiday Park and Weymouth Sealife Tower.

Local businesses are invited to join the scheme to demonstrate their recognition of the importance of the World Heritage Site through fundraising activities and through passing on information about the Jurassic Coast to their customers.

The Jurassic Coast Trust is a charity which supports a range of conservation and education projects along the 95 miles of World Heritage Site, working closely with the Jurassic Coast Management Team.

This new project is based upon a pilot that has been running successfully in East Devon, where local Jurassic Coast enthusiasts have helped set up a network of volunteers, delivered talks for schools, organised walks and organised fundraising.

Alexandra O’Dwyer, the Trustee of the Jurassic Coast Trust who is leading the project says: “We are thrilled to have received the support of HLF to breathe life into the Jurassic Coast Community.

"So many people love our World Heritage Site and enjoy it every day, this project will create ways to harness this interest and passion so that people can give something back to the coastline and help us build a support network for the future.

"Whatever your interest is in the coast, there is a way that you can get involved to help us to look after it. ”

James Weld, Chair of the Jurassic Coast Trust, added: “The funding from HLF has given a significant boost to the work of the Trust and it means that we are able not only to create significant new support for the coast but also offer a wide range of benefits back to the people who live, work and visit the World Heritage Site.

"This funding will mean we can run training courses about the Jurassic Coast, communicate more effectively and, crucially, help provide volunteer support to our many partners along the coast, such as visitor centres and museums, who all need volunteers and who all do a vital job as the very backbone of the Jurassic Coast community.”

Explaining the importance of HLF’s support, Head of HLF South West, Nerys Watts said: “The Jurassic Coast is one of the UK’s greatest natural wonders, and a fascinating window onto our geological past.

"We were therefore delighted to have the opportunity to support this project, which opens up so many opportunities for people of all ages and from all walks of life to actively engage with and understand this wonderful part of the South West."

Sam Rose, World Heritage Site Manager from the Jurassic Coast Management Team, comments: “I am delighted that we can now better harness the huge enthusiasm, knowledge and goodwill of those who love the Jurassic Coast”.

The project has also received funding from the Wates Family Enterprise Trust and from Dorset County Council.