New project to connect Rotherham communities with their green spaces

Published Wednesday, 21st June 2017
A bluebell wood in Rotherham
Green spaces in Rotherham

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, in partnership with Rotherham Council and other community partners, have been awarded £514,000 of National Lottery money through the Big Lottery Fund.

The funding will enable communities in Rotherham to connect with their local green spaces. Over five years, ‘Natural Neighbours’ will bring people together through regular activities for all the family at green spaces in four areas of Rotherham: Sandhill Park, Rawmarsh; Winterhills, Kimberworth; Boston Park, and Eldon Road Recreation Ground, Eastwood.

These areas will also be improved through small scale capital works which will make the sites more welcoming, make access routes more obvious, improve safety and celebrate these open spaces as part of the community.

Activities will include:

  • Workshops for youth and community groups on how to keep safe in open spaces
  • ‘Wild Play’ activities for schools, community groups and families which support child development, enable parents and children to play positively, raise awareness of the outdoors and reconnect families with nature
  • Celebratory events such as art installations and photography exhibitions
  • Regular nature walks, talks and courses which enable local people – including residents for whom English is a second language – to find out more about local wildlife
  • Volunteering opportunities for people to take ownership of their green spaces through tasks such as tree/wildflower planting, litter picking, installing bird feeders and nest boxes and improving facilities.

Linda Baldwin, Community Engagement and Learning Manager for Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said: “Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund grant, we will be able to help local people shape and care for their green spaces, making them focal points for the community. People will be able to learn about the different habitats, how beneficial they are to the area and how together we can improve them and care for them in the future. We’re looking forward to working together with local communities and organisations to make these spaces more attractive so that everyone can enjoy what they offer and be inspired by nature.”

James Harcourt, England Grant Making Director, Big Lottery Fund, said: “We are proud to celebrate projects that make a difference to people and the communities they live in. It is great to think that National Lottery players have now raised £36 billion for Good Causes and it’s when you hear about projects like these that you realise the incredible impact that funding has had across England. Whether the grant is for £500, or £500,000, our funding is used to run amazing projects led by local people. It really is life changing.”

Cllr Taiba Yasseen, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Working and Cultural Services, said: “This is wonderful news for Rotherham’s green spaces and the people who use them. It comes at a time when the Council is keen to explore innovative approaches to green space management. Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust are able to bring considerable experience of community engagement to connect people with nature, and the Council is delighted to be working in partnership with them on this exciting project.”

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trustimage