Transforming the Trent Valley’ secures Heritage Lottery Funding

The striking landscape of the Trent Valley, along with its archaeological and industrial heritage and important wetland habitats, are set to benefit from the first stage of a £3 million project.

The striking landscape of the Trent Valley, along with its archaeological and industrial heritage and important wetland habitats, are set to benefit from the first stage of a £3 million project.

The first stage of the grant, amounting to £256,300, has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to The Central Rivers Initiative (CRI) as part of its ‘Transforming the Trent Valley’ partnership project led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

The 18-month scheme—which supports the development of a larger proposal to be submitted for approval in 2018 for environmental, cultural and community-led projects—was given initial approval through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme.

Julian Woolford, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This is fantastic news and we were delighted to hear that our application has been successful.

“This funding will allow us to focus on work on part of the county’s most treasured landscape and heritage, and will be a huge benefit to communities, organisations and crucially, wildlife.

“We are now looking forward to getting started with work on the ground and making a real difference to such an important part of our area.”

Julia Jessel, Chairman of the CRI, said: “This is very exciting news and now means the CRI can deliver its long-term vision for the benefit of all.

“The success of our bid is also testament to the huge effort made by everyone involved. I am extremely proud to have the privilege of being the chairman of this partnership.”

The ‘Transforming the Trent Valley’ scheme aims to turn people’s outlook back to the river and floodplain, raise their level of appreciation for the local heritage, and engage them in constructive and informed decision-making about the future use and management of the landscape.

The Landscape Partnership Scheme will undertake a wide range of environmental, cultural and community-led projects within the Trent, Tame and Dove river valleys covering some 190 square kilometres from Uttoxeter to Tamworth and including the river valleys within or near to the main towns of Burton, Rugeley, Lichfield and Derby.

Canoeist  Trent Valley

Exploring the landscape by canoe (Credit: Aimee L. Booth)

Work over the next 18 months will help to shape and define a range of projects. Projects will include:

Creating a more robust and attractive landscape for local people and for visiting tourists to enjoy with access to sites of wildlife and cultural interest.
Revealing the archaeological and industrial heritage that has shaped the river valley landscape.
Restoring characteristic river valley landscape features such as meandering river channels, water meadows and waterside trees.
Creating new and improved wildlife habitats such as reed beds, wet pastures and woodland encouraging species such as bittern, osprey and waders on land formerly quarried for sand and gravel.
Improving accessibility on foot, cycle and horseback with new opportunities for recreation and sport.

Once an integral part of the working lives of local communities much of the Trent Valley is now hidden from view and difficult to access.

Andrew Hearle, Central Rivers Initiative Manager, said: “Transforming the Trent Valley’ project is to get people closer to a beautiful and revitalised landscape—and this money will allow that to happen.

“This lottery funding will give us the keys to help create a more robust and attractive landscape for local people and visiting tourists to enjoy, as well as restoring characteristic river valley features such as meandering river channels, water meadows and waterside trees.

“Local communities will also benefit as the scheme will involve improving accessibility to the area on foot, cycle and horseback with new opportunities for exploring local history, wildlife, as well as for recreation and sport.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Our historic landscapes are incredibly important to people’s wellbeing and need to be protected. Some of the landscapes we are funding today are in the most remote parts of the UK; others form an important backdrop to some of our largest cities. What they all have in common is the potential to make people’s lives better, which is why they are so richly deserving of National Lottery money.”

To find out more about the project visit http://www.centralrivers.org.uk/

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Notes to editors
¹ HLF’s Landscape Partnership (LP) programme operates a two-stage grant approval process. Today’s announcement means that money has been set aside by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the scheme. The applicant initially receives development funding, then progresses to the second round and submits a further, fully-developed application to secure the full award. This early level of strong financial commitment means that Landscape Partnership projects can move forward with the assurance that funding for their scheme is in place provided that their final proposals fully meet the programme's criteria.

² HLF’s Landscape Partnerships are helping bring together members of the community as well as local, regional, and national organisations to deliver schemes which benefit some of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes and rural communities. Grants range from £100,000 up to £3m. The next closing date for LP applications is May 2017.

3) The Central Rivers Initiative is a broad based partnership whose members are; Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, The RSPB, The National Forest Company, Staffordshire County Council, Tamworth Borough Council, Lichfield District Council, East Staffordshire Borough Council, Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, Hanson UK, Tarmac Aggregates Ltd, Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

4) The Landscape Partnership includes the above CRI members and in addition; Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Trent Rivers Trust, Canal & River Trust, Environment Agency.

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 @heritagelottery. For more information please contact: Katie Owen, HLF Press Office, on 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.

For further information contact Jon Owen at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust by emailing j.owen@staffs-wildlife.org.uk or call 01889 880100.