1st February 2022
Port Sunlight River Park is coming under new management this year as national charity The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) takes over the running of the popular Wirral landmark, in partnership with the Land Trust.
Bromborough-based charity Autism Together managed the site since it first opened to the public in 2014 and will continue to work within the park in partnership with TCV and the Land Trust. Autism Together will continue running the Heritage Centre café and kiosk, offering workplace opportunities for the autistic adults the organisation supports.
The 70-acre site was once a former landfill, but was reclaimed and revitalised by the Land Trust, and working alongside Autism Together, has become a very popular park attracting thousands of visitors a year.
TCV now takes the reins from Autism Together and will work alongside the Land Trust to maintain this much-loved green space and deliver a variety of practical conservation activities with local volunteers. These projects aim to impact on both the environment and surrounding community.
TCV will run one of its health-promoting Green Gyms at Port Sunlight in 2022 as part of the Bridging the Covid Gap Together project, in partnership with One Wirral. Alongside two other local locations, this Green Gym will be for people with long-term health conditions and is funded through NHS Charities Together.
Launched on 31st January for an initial 12 month contract, TCV will also manage the Old Courthouse, which is a nearby site with archaeological features.
TCV manages multiple sites across England on behalf of the Land Trust. In the Merseyside and Cheshire areas, this has included Liverpool Festival Gardens from 2013 to 2018, and Countess of Chester Country Park since 2014. Multiple award-winning with Green Flag status, Countess of Chester has two TCV Green Gyms, a Forest School and holds tree planting projects, including for the Queen’s Green Canopy. TCV’s aim is to replicate this level of community engagement at Port Sunlight River Park.
TCV and Autism Together have previously worked together on projects at the park, such as creating a Lapwing enclosure. They look forward to this next phase in the park’s development.
Euan Hall, Land Trust Chief Executive, said:
“The Land Trust has worked with the The Conservation Volunteers on a number of our other sites very successfully, none more so than at Countess of Chester Country Park, just across the Mersey.
“We are looking forward to working with them at Port Sunlight River Park and we’re very excited to see the projects they deliver over the next 12 months.
“I would like to thank Autism Together for their considerable efforts over the last eight years. Their work at Port Sunlight has made a huge difference to the lives of so many people and it has been a pleasure working with them. We hope their users will continue to enjoy using the green spaces at Port Sunlight for many years to come.”
Fiona Richards, TCV Operations Director, said:
“TCV is delighted to be working with the Land Trust and Autism Together on a site that has had such a vibrant and committed group of volunteers. TCV is confident that the addition of our experience and expertise will offer new opportunities to people to get involved and have a lasting positive impact on the park and the health and wellbeing of everyone who wants to join us.”
Angie Kemp, Autism Together Business Development Director, said:
“Autism Together is proud to have managed the River Park for the past eight years, helping oversee its transformation into the vibrant and beautiful leisure destination it is today.
“Over that time our rangers and volunteer teams helped create this vital habitat for wildlife, including rare wildflowers and plants, bees, butterflies, small mammals and a range of birds, winning a number of awards and opening the onsite Heritage Centre and café.
“We look forward to working closely with The Conservation Volunteers and the Land Trust, while continuing to support autistic adults and serve the community at the River Park in future.”
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