A project to encourage local people and visitors to enjoy, cherish and defend the River Eden in Cumbria has won the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Eden Rivers Trust has received initial support from the HLF for a project called “Cherish Eden”. Development funding of £107,000 has been awarded to help the Trust progress their plans to apply for a full grant next year. Cherish Eden is a partnership project involving a range of other local organisations.
The £2.3 million project has four complimentary themes. These include a series of activities which help local communities look after their local river, an apprenticeship scheme for local youngsters, a new series of walks and cycle rides in the Eden Valley, and a media project about “a day in the life of the River Eden”.
The River Eden in Cumbria is of national and international importance for its wildlife. It also plays a major role in the landscape, drawing locals and tourists alike to visit the area, undertake recreational activities and support the local economy.
The first part of the project is called “Defend Eden” and aims to get local people actively involved in looking after the river where they live. Examples of activities include removing invasive plants, surveying river wildlife, preventing pollution, protecting river banks and planting trees. Initially involving Eden Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency, the Cumbria Freshwater Non-native Species Initiative, it will be the community groups and volunteers who make a real difference.
“Apprentice Eden” is a partnership between Eden Rivers Trust, Newton Rigg College - part of Askham Bryan College – and other neighbouring Rivers Trusts. It is aimed at teaching young people about rivers and their importance to man and the environment. It will enable them to pursue careers in river conservation or other related subjects.
Several new walks and cycle rides associated with the River Eden will be established as part of the project. Called the “Eden Invaders Trail”, it will create some beautiful new ways of exploring the Eden Valley countryside. It will also tell people about its violent, historical invaders as well as its less violent, but still dangerous invaders of today - invasive animals and plants which are threatening our wildlife! It will involve Eden Rivers Trust and Cumbria County Council Environment Team in the first instance, along with the Environment Agency and the Cumbria Freshwater Non-native Species Initiative.
“A day in the life of the River Eden” is a media project which will consider all the activities associated with the river and come up with fresh, modern ways of telling people about them. The aim is to enthuse those involved and the general public about the river. This is another partnership project, and students from Carlisle College will draw on Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery Trust and Cumbria County Council Carlisle Archive Centre for information and inspiration. The students will then use whatever methods or material they wish to create something extra special about the River Eden.
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West said, “The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to support the development of the Cherish Eden project which will help people to learn more about and become actively involved with the natural and cultural heritage of the River Eden".
Simon Johnson, Eden Rivers Trust Director, said, “This is fantastic news for the Eden Valley. The HLF grant will enable us to make full use of the beautiful River Eden so that all can enjoy and help to protect it. This will save it for future generations whilst also providing a variety of community activities and opportunities for volunteers, training and recreation. I’m particularly excited that the project will be delivered across the entire Eden Valley including rural and urban areas and that we will be creating a number of exciting apprenticeship opportunities for talented young Cumbrians.”
Wes Johnson, Campus Principal at Newton Rigg College, said, “We are delighted to be part of the ‘Apprentice Eden’ project in partnership with our colleagues at Eden Rivers Trust. This new apprenticeship programme will create real opportunities for young people to gather a range of skills, knowledge and qualifications to equip them to make a positive impact in the future of our countryside.”
Sarah McGrath, Head of Faculty, Humanities and the Arts, at Carlisle College, said, “At Carlisle College we are really excited about A Day in the Life of the Eden. It is such a worthwhile project and also a great opportunity for all of our creative students. It will provide an chance for our students to get involved in a real-life project and to have a positive impact on their local community.”