Creating a lasting legacy for rivers in Lancashire
More people than ever before are accessing and enjoying the River Irk thanks to a community project.
We’ve partnered up with Groundwork’s Love The River Irk to co-develop and deliver an engagement campaign to raise awareness of the river corridor, delivering environmental improvements and establishing a lasting legacy.
School groups, science clubs, walking groups and friends groups have been able to access, enjoy and learn more about their local watery environments thanks to ‘Connecting the Irk: the People's River’ events and engagement programme. The project has engaged more than 2,000 people and included:
- An event and training programme to increase engagement with those not yet involved in their water environment
- Facilitated learning between groups and communities, sharing their existing best practice and adding in expert knowledge around citizen sciences (water quality, and species monitoring).
- A year-round community action & recruitment drive to encourage participation in activities including water quality testing, litter picking and removing invasive species
As well as building on areas of established community and environmental activity, the project has focused on reaching the areas 'in-between' flagship public spaces, where people are not yet engaged with the local water environment. On top of in person events, the project delivered a social media campaign encouraging more people to get involved with the River Irk and connect with nature. The social media forum allows communities to continue their involvement in the river environment.
And there’s big plans for the future thanks to a partnership of organisations and community groups who meet monthly to share their plans and progress for the river. This facilitates mutual support, a wider reach into communities, further collaboration and joint funding bids.
The project has been possible thanks to the United Utilities Catchment Systems Thinking (CaST Account), with a total value of £300,000, to support charitable organisations in delivering catchment based projects in the North West.