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£2 million boost for Eden Rivers Trust

Eden Rivers Trust has been given a £2 million boost by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Cumbrian river conservation charity has been given the grant as for its heritage partnershipEden Rivers Trust project, Access to Eden: breaking barriers, building bridges. 

Added to money raised by the project’s partners, that will see a total of £2.6 million spent on people and the environment in the Eden over the next four years.

Access to Eden: breaking barriers, building bridges will remove barriers that prevent people and wildlife from accessing the natural heritage of east Cumbria and ‘build the bridges’ needed so that they enjoy and thrive in, on and beside Eden’s rivers.

This will include improvements to walks and trails, coupled with better information plus opportunities for all ages and abilities to get closer to nature, so that more people can explore, enjoy and care for Eden’s rivers.

Another major part of the project involves community-led practical conservation projects at eight ‘doorstep’ sites that are within easy reach of urban areas along the length of the River Eden – creating sustainable, healthy, thriving natural spaces.

While developing the project, people who faced the greatest barriers to accessing nature told us that having safe, accessible places to access nature on their doorstep was vital.

In Penrith, local people will have two new places on their doorstep; Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Cold Springs Community Nature Reserve and Eden Rivers Trust’s Community Tree Nursery.

Work started last year on these accessible spaces where communities are taking the lead in shaping their development; volunteering to dig, build and plant features and enjoying learning about how to grow trees, look after nature and simply enjoy the view.

Both sites will have a packed programme of events and opportunities for local people to volunteer over the next four years.

Elizabeth Radford, chief executive of Eden Rivers Trust, said: “All the partners in this project love the Eden Valley and the special natural places found here, from the river’s source in Mallerstang to the sea beyond Carlisle.

“This grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will allow more people to experience the magic of those places, many of whom currently find themselves excluded.  Through sharing these places, we hope more people from different communities will be encouraged to join in with caring for the Eden; our countryside and our wonderful river.”

The 14-strong partnership led by Eden Rivers Trust brings together local councils, environmental organisations, river user and transport groups, community groups and accessibility campaigners whose knowledge and expertise will unlock rivers and nature for more people than ever before, providing opportunities to connect them to the wonder that is the natural world found in the wider Eden valley.

Elizabeth added: “The project partners have raised £600,000 of match funding from over 20 sources to contribute to this project: including both Cumbrian councils, charitable trusts and some generous private donors – already a huge community effort which will be recognised throughout the project alongside the incredible contribution from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.”