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The Nene Park: Your Community Greenspace project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund is an exciting 5-year project for Nene Park which came into being following consultation with current and potential Park visitors and other stakeholders; an internal understanding of activities and infrastructure within in the park where we have reached capacity and a desire to follow through on the Trust's charitable objective to help improve the health and wellbeing of the residents of Peterborough. 

This resulted in the c.£3 million, 5-year project, which has three overarching aims:

  • Empower and engage our communities to help conserve the natural heritage of Nene Park.
  • Build bridges with the multi-cultural communities of Peterborough to make Ferry Meadows an inclusive community hub.
  • Improve physical and mental health and wellbeing through nurturing connections with nature and the outdoors.

Why are these aims our focus?

Peterborough is the UK’s fastest growing city by population, fostering an incredibly diverse and rapidly expanding breadth of communities, its vibrant multiculturalism exemplified by over 142 languages spoken in local primary schools. The City has significant health and wellbeing issues, for example the number of obese people, and hospital admissions for mental health issues amongst young people are both significantly higher than the national average.

Nene Park Trust has a strong track record of providing a Park that is much loved by our community; but we must take steps to ensure Nene Park is as inclusive as possible for all of Peterborough’s residents. We also have a part to play in addressing citywide challenges whilst also enhancing our own heritage and nature capital through community involvement.  Our ultimate goal is to ensure the Park continues to enrich the lives of Peterborough’s people, present and future.

What stage are we at?

We are currently in the development phase of the project. During this phase (August 2019-2021), we have funds to pilot activities that help inform further development of the project’s activity, conservation and evaluation plans.

We have been working with community groups and carrying out outreach in the city to find out how regularly groups access greenspace and what we could provide to encourage underrepresented groups to access greenspace more regularly. All this information will help us develop our project plans further.

Some of our pilot activities include:

  • Working with Sikh community to plant trees creating a tree line for visitors to enjoy
  • Working with Cross Keys Home’s ‘Inspiring the Next Generation’ team to offer work experience to young people not in employment, education or training.
  • Working with the Hindu community to deliver an event in the Park celebrating Makara Sankranti – a kite flying festival.
  • Working with Youth Inspired to raise awareness of the benefits of greenspace and encourage volunteering with young people.
  • Drop-in volunteer taster day sessions at Thorpe Meadows.
  • Attending libraries and other community settings across the city.

What happens next?

Following the development phase, we resubmit a more detailed application to the Heritage Fund. If we are successful, the project will see a variety of exciting project activities, including:

  • Development of our activities and events programme to become more reflective of and responsive to our local community.
  • Strengthening our volunteering offer, with a focus on corporate volunteering, giving the local community enhanced opportunities to help manage the Park and its natural heritage.
  • Renovation of an existing building to provide a multi-use community hub within Ferry Meadows available for local groups with enhanced meeting and toilet facilities.
  • Creating more capacity for school groups to visit the Park and learn about nature, conservation and the environment.
  • Replacement of Pontoon Bridge, an iconic landmark of the Park that is reaching its end-of-life. The new bridge will be adorned with murals and other artworks representing the multifaceted culture of Peterborough.
  • Development of a volunteer / apprentice workspace in the Yard area.
  • In collaboration with local colleges, appointment of three apprentices to work closely with Rangers to learn essential landscape / habitat management skills.
  • Travel opportunities to support groups getting to and around Nene Park.
  • Recruitment of a Community Warden to engage with our visitors and be the public-face of the project.
  • Formation of a volunteer Project Support Group to hep steer the direction of the project and ensure community groups are involved in the development.

We look forward to the exciting developments.

If you are interested in any of the above and would like to be involved, contact Hannah Keeley at hannah.keeley@neneparktrust.org.uk

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