The Combe Valley Countryside Park Project was set up to:
Encourage and support local people already engaged with nature to use and take ownership of the site
Raise the public profile of the site
Facilitate the use of the site by groups in a structured way, e.g. health walks, school visits, and conservation groups.
Kim Richards is the community Leader for the Project.
Map of Combe Valley Countryside Park
The project has engaged with a wide range of individuals, groups and families over the first 18 month period through a program of over 65 events with attendance of over 1500 people which included:
- Local environment and community groups in Bexhill and Hastings
- Community centres
- Children’s centres
- Residential homes and day care services
- Individuals and families from the areas surrounding the park
Engagement has also included outreach visits to the above groups and local communities by giving talks and displays about the project and attending local events to promote the project and the events programme.
These events have included partnership days with the police and community workers, school fetes and events in parks in surrounding areas.
This outreach work has promoted attendance in the Pebsham Countryside Park by families, groups and individuals as part of the events programme and has also facilitated organised visits to the project area for targeted groups and individuals to encourage independent return visits by these groups.
The events programme has been very successful in terms of attendance and positive public feedback. The majority of events have been very well attended and early indications suggest that initial contact with the project has prompted those who attended events to return to the park independently.
all photos by Kim Richards
Throughout the project we have found that there is significant public interest in the park project. The public engagement carried out so far has shown that the main barriers to increased public use of the park project area are lack of awareness and knowledge of the area and issues around access.
A number of lessons have been learnt through the delivery of the 2011 events programme and it is suggested that events in 2012 be designed to respond to increased community demand and input.
photo by Derrick Coffee