Port Sunlight River Park celebrate CaST Project

20th July 2023

Port Sunlight River Park, a 28-hectare park in Bromborough Merseyside, recently completed the final stages of a 19-month community engagement programme.

Funded by United Utilities’ Catchment Systems Thinking Account (CaST) and delivered by the Land Trust’s award winning environmental training team, Green Angels, the programme engaged the local community with the green space focusing on the importance of water and wetlands in the environment. The funding also supported seasonal events and local school engagement.

The project delivered a number of environmental courses and workshops to engage the community in including Wildlife identification, Wellbeing by the Water, Scything &Traditional Meadow Management, Countryside Fencing and Reedbed Management to name a few, with 98 participants in total. Trainees learnt valuable new skills and their hard work has led to vast improvements for habitats in the park, helping to improve the site for wildlife and for visitors to benefit from to. Feedback showed that 91% of trainees felt a course they attended increased their appreciation of different habitats on site and that they increased their knowledge of what species they could find there.

Along with environmental courses, the project’s aim was to engage at least 100 school students with the site. Five local schools visited the site engaging with activities like field studies, consersation tasks and making bird feeders. As well as school visits, two school holiday play schemes gave children the chance to explore the importance of water, pond life and bushcraft skills. The project ran five community family friendly events which were a huge success with over 500 attendees, which included lots of fun filled nature-based activities, along with self-led wildlife trails and bird spotting activities for visitors to explore and enjoy.

Mary Breeze CaST Green Angels Project Officer at the Land Trust said:

“This has been a fantastic project to be part of and we have achieved so much. The activities have been a great way to get the local community exploring their local green and blue space, learning new skills, as well as improving their mental and physical health. It has been great to work with the local community and see their passion and commitment to the park, the local community, and the wider environment.

“We are very grateful to United Utilities’ CaST programme for funding Green Angels activities at Port Sunlight River Park. Thank you to everyone who has got involved and supported the project!”.

Esther Taylor, Strategy Development Manager at United Utilities, said:

“The CaST Account funding is all about connecting our communities to the environment, allowing them to recognise the importance of nature and experience what it can do for our wellbeing.

“It’s great to see the achievements of the volunteers at Port Sunlight River Park. They have worked so hard in each and every session to enhance this vital green space for the community, and they have also benefited directly from spending time outdoors, meeting new people, and learning new skills.

“Working with the Land Trust and their Green Angels project is a fantastic example of the importance of partnership working and how it can help to make our region stronger, greener and healthier.”

In February, Green Angels held a celebration event to celebrate the amazing achievements undertaken throughout the project by the trainees at the park. Joined by local charities, United Utilities and other organisations involved in the project, the trainees received a Green Angels mug and certificate, a great way come together and thank everyone involved.

The project went on to inspire the creation of The Oasis, completed in June which is situated at the front of the parks Heritage Centre and café, run by Autism Together. This area was created with the Friends of Group, volunteers, and site ranger from TCV. To help encourage mindfulness at the park a wellbeing board was installed in this area, raised beds were created for the new gardening club, with the space to be used for a variety of community engagement activities going forward.

The project will leave a lasting legacy at the park with improved habitats for wildlife, providing new opportunities for continued engagement, on-going partnerships with local schools and a new space in The Oasis, for visitors and volunteers to enjoy. Green Angels commissioned a video about the project at Port Sunlight River Park which you can watch on YouTube here – Green Angels CaST Project at Port Sunlight River Park – YouTube.

The park managed by green space management charity the Land Trust and managing partners The Conversation Volunteers, is a former landfill which was transformed and opened to the public in 2014.

Find out more about United Utilities’ CaST Account at: www.unitedutilities.com/corporate/responsibility/stakeholders/catchment-systems-thinking/cast-account/

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