The Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership (KSCP) has received £85,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project called Our Stour. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, this community-based initiative will bring real benefits for river environments and wildlife, with the involvement of local people through volunteering and training opportunities. Focusing on the Great Stour and other rivers of the Stour Catchment in East Kent, the project will run for three years. The scheme has also received financial contributions from Kent County Council, Environment Agency, Southern Water, Affinity Water, Ashford Borough Council and Canterbury City Council.
One of the important aspects of this project is that it will set up a scheme of River Wardens with the responsibility to monitor the problems and the wildlife on different sections of the river. A key part of this remit will be to report rubbish and trolleys in the river and to make sure that the problems are dealt with – keeping the river clean, green, safe and enjoyable!
Here is more about the project from the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership:
Our Stour is all about enjoying and improving the rivers and streams in and around Ashford, Canterbury, Sandwich, Herne Bay and Whitstable. Local people will get directly involved in work to improve rivers and riverside land. Film making and photography will help people discover and tell others about the waterways on their doorstep, while free educational activities for kids and adults will gather valuable new data about river environments.
Here are just some of the ways people will be able to get involved:
- Take part in wildlife surveys, with training from wildlife experts
- Do hands-on conservation work to improve rivers
- Become a river warden and look after your own stretch of river
- Use technology to record and add to knowledge of the river environment
- Tell the story of a river by making a short video with the help of a professional film maker
- Explore a river, take your camera and get tips from a professional photographer
Our fun, free, educational activities will be for both individuals and organised groups, and cater for a wide range of ages.
A programme of schools workshops will take place in the AquaLab, a mobile environmental learning resource, packed with equipment and technology, from dipping nets to GoPro cameras.
Farmers and other landowners will be brought into the project through workshops advising them in land management to protect rivers, vital to improving water quality.
At the end of the project people will be able to join new community groups to keep the good work going in the long-term.
There will be a special focus on involving young people and elderly people, and generally those who perhaps don’t spend much time in the outdoors at present. The KSCP would like to hear from any youth or other community groups who might like a free activity for their members.
We would also like to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer with the project. Local volunteers will be very important to delivering our aims and will have opportunities to get involved in many ways. There will be free training available in skills such as wildlife survey and looking after the river environment.
Commenting on the grant award, Jon Shelton, KSCP Partnership Manager said, “In the Stour Valley, the Great Stour and other rivers are familiar to us all. All our major towns, and many of the villages, have rivers and streams running through them. We feel that to address the issues surrounding these waterways, we need local people on board. With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund we can achieve that and we are very grateful to the National Lottery players who have made this grant possible.”
About the KSCP
The Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership is working to conserve, enhance and promote the countryside and urban green space of the Stour Valley in Kent. The Partnership works closely with local communities and landowners to promote both landscape and nature conservation and develop opportunities for interpretation, education, community development and countryside access. It operates as a working partnership of sponsoring organisations, Partnership staff and local people. We work with landowners, community groups and site managers to conserve and enable access to a large number of wildlife sites and green spaces. Our activities are funded by a partnership of local authorities, including Kent County Council who administer the partnership, and other bodies. Website: www.kentishstour.org.uk
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.
For further information, images and interviews, please contact
Jon Shelton, Partnership Manager
At Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership