The Great Ouse Valley Trust Partners’ Update meeting and workshop at Hemingford Abbots Village Hall on 30th November was attended by 35 representatives from our partner members and potential partner members. Parishes, towns and national organisations all participated to help the Trust focus on the issues that really matter to them.
The morning session was chaired by GOVT Chairman Graham Campbell. Three speakers helped to stimulate ideas and concerns for discussion. Mark Nokkert of Cambridgeshire ACRE gave a presentation (CLICK HERE) on the current status of its application to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for recognition of the Fens Biosphere project. Martin Baker spoke about the work of the Wildlife Trust in the valley and spoke of the challenges now faced following years of biodiversity loss. Finally, Michael Krause from Plantlife encouraged us to value the rich plant life that does still exist in the valley and explained how meadows rich in biodiversity can be regenerated in a surprisingly short time span. Graham Campbell mentioned that landscape has a great cultural and aesthetic value that is not always in tune with the wildlife but that this has a great significance in the Trust’s aim to gain AONB status.
Attendees were asked to indicate what they considered to be the top three key benefits and threats for the Trust. This was followed by two sessions of round table discussion. Each of the five tables had a good mixture from our partner members. The first session centred on the main aims of the Trust and the second session on how the individual members could deliver some of these ambitions.
Special thanks to Helen Boothman, Bridget Flanagan and Phil Rothwell for structuring the event.
The group discussions produced a quantity of ideas and concerns which are being carefully analyzed in order to establish a clear direction for the Trust in the coming year and beyond. We hope to publish this ‘manifesto’ early in the New Year.
With the data coming out of this session the Trust is confident that it can develop as a coalition of all those who are committed to promote, protect and enhance this wonderful landscape.
Scenes from the workshop: Delegates discussing the options left and the Trust banner with post-it note preferences right. Photographs by Chris Bowden.