Another 54 angling projects have benefitted from a share of £200,000 from the Angling Improvement Fund (AIF).
Administered by the Angling Trust in partnership with the Environment Agency, the AIF reinvests income from rod licence sales into ventures that aid freshwater fishing nationwide.
With every project also attracting financial or in-kind support through match-funding, it means that schemes totaling over half-a-million pounds have benefitted from the fund.
The latest winning applications include projects to protect fisheries from predation, encourage more people to go fishing, improve facilities at clubs and fisheries, and to safeguard venues. They were awarded under the following four themes:
Unsustainable predation by otters can have a devastating effect on angling venues and has become an issue of major concern to anglers. Applications from commercial fisheries and clubs for otter-proof fencing projects were invited and eight projects have been selected for funding (bringing to 11 the total number supported through the AIF) and will share awards worth £31,926. Fencing projects are an expensive undertaking and the match funding secured by these projects, worth more than £158,000, is critically important.
Best unfunded proposals from previous rounds:
More than 300 applications were submitted to the first two rounds of the AIF, many more than could be funded. Aware of the large number of good projects it had to decline, the judging panel reviewed past entries and awarded funds totalling £77,931 to 21 projects, including 17 focused on junior angling. Most of the winning projects are now in place or are close to completion and the amount of match funding secured by the applicants totalled over £81,000 in this category.
As a key part of making fishing much more accessible to those new to the sport, funding was allocated to projects involving park ponds and other types of ‘community water’, such as fishable rivers and canals in towns and cities. Being close to urban areas they offer unparalleled opportunities to get out fishing, safely, cheaply and close to where you live. However, they tend to face a number of challenges, including poor water quality, litter and general neglect, and their creation, protection and development is a key objective of the National Angling Strategy.
In judging the entries, the panel wanted to see a clear demonstration of the issues facing the venue and the benefits the projects would bring.
Eighteen projects have received an offer of a grant, sharing £75,784 of AIF funding. They include six councils, two well-known charities in the National Trust and the Canal & River Trust, two park Friends Groups, an enterprise focusing on popularising canals, and seven angling clubs. With partnership and in-kind contributions totalling close to £80,000, the total value of these projects is over £155,000.
Schools and colleges:
Intervention projects involving angling have an uncanny ability to connect with children, boosting confidence and offering valuable learning opportunities and life skills. It would be great if fishing could be offered in all schools and that was the motivation behind this theme.
The fund received lots of very promising applications, however the most sustainable in the long-term included a clear role for the school or college. Offers have been made to seven projects with awards totalling £25,462. Two projects will involve students taking land-based college courses.
Sarah Chare, Deputy Director for Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “If you buy a rod licence from the Post Office then you are helping to protect and improve fisheries through the Angling Improvement Fund. These 54 projects will improve the facilities that anglers tell us they want most and encourage new people to try fishing.
“Angling is great for people’s health and anglers help to protect the environment, so we want to get as many people involved as possible.”
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, said: “The Angling Improvement Fund has been a great success in ensuring that there is a transparent and fair process for clubs, fisheries and community groups to apply for the funds available. The funding awards have been given to those who can demonstrate that they will make the biggest impact for the good of fishing, not only by attracting match funding but also by working in partnership and involving the local community in their plans.
“It’s vital that we get the best value for money from the funds raised from anglers buying rod licences. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to the success of the fund and I look forward to hearing about more excellent projects in the next round.”
• Full details of the winning projects can be found here