A Rocha UK partner Lea Brook Valley has not only just become a charity – but has also scooped fresh funds, renewed vision and captured the respect of water authorities. This spring the project received nearly £50,000 from Yorkshire Waters Biodiversity Fund.
Part of A Rocha UK’s Partners in Action network, Lea Brook Valley is an almost one-mile-long green corridor in North East Derbyshire from the wetlands of Gosforth Valley, through Dronfield to the River Drone. As well as being rich in wildlife, it’s a natural flood control site for the community (pictured below).
The money awarded will be spent on improving the site’s balancing ponds, to enhance biodiversity and back a 25-year management plan. This will benefit the community of Dronfield, nature and conservation while serving as its original purpose to reduce the effects of surface water flooding.
With such vision and resources, the scheme is being hailed as the flagship for water companies and flood authorities up and down the country. The valley’s Living Waters Project – consisting of wildlife-rich flood meadows – shows how large organisations can engage with local community groups.
Lea Brook Valley’s journey started 12 years ago, when a small group of volunteers wanted to make a positive difference to their community. Spearheaded by Norman Crowson and Peter Carr, they set about maintaining hedgerows, planting trees, installing walkways and footpaths.
With A Rocha UK, the scheme appointed intern Maria Klöss in 2015 to manage the project. But challenges grew, particularly in trying to engage with water companies. Local Anglican curate Dave Walker (pictured above) became involved in 2016. It turned out Dave had experience with water companies.
‘We identified the needs of the project,’ said Dave, ‘looking at the great achievements Norman, Peter and the team had achieved over the years – and engaged the water company.’ For more details about Lea Brook Valley, contact Dave.