Heritage Lottery Fund put to good use
By Zoe Cox, Community Manager, Forestry Commission, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We all dream about winning the lottery. The phrase ‘you need to be in it to win it’ gives us hope that there is the smallest of chances that one day we’ll win the jackpot, even though many of us are happy winning just £25. While you’re dreaming about spending your fantasy winnings, it’s good to know that you’re also supporting many organisations across the UK each time you play – and the New Forest is just one of them.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK to explore, enjoy and protect the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. We were thrilled that Our Past, Our Future – a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest – was awarded £2.89million from the fund. With additional contributions from the New Forest National Park Authority and 11 key partners, including the Forestry Commission, the total now stands at £4.3million.
Maintaining and protecting the New Forest to its current standard requires a lot of investment, so this funding support is a fantastic way to boost the hard work we’re already doing.
The Landscape Partnership Scheme will deliver a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop forest skills and inspire a new generation to love and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest. With the support of funding partners, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, the scheme’s 21 projects will have a real, lasting impact on the New Forest over the next four years. Three of these projects will be led by the Forestry Commission.
A £164k refurbishment of Verderers’ Hall, the home to the ancient Verderers’ Court that stands at the top of Lyndhurst High Street, will make it more accessible to the public and allow more groups to book the Hall for activities, such as educational film screenings about the history of the Hall and New Forest. As many of you will know, the Hall is an active court and plays an important role in the commoning community, so it’s the ideal place to tell the New Forest story. The work begins this summer and we hope it will be finished before the end of the year.
As part of the ‘Conserving the Forest Fringe’ sub-project, we’ll also be able to appoint a new Trainee Estate Officer to work with our Estates Keeper to raise awareness about the importance of the existing historic boundaries, why they need to be maintained and how we can protect the unique character of the landscape. They’ll be working with parish councils and landowners, who can act as champions for the project. We’re recruiting for this position at the moment and we hope they’ll be in post this spring.
The Senses of Place project will improve the onsite interpretation (including information boards and signs) across two of the key recreation sites at Blackwater Arboretum and Bolderwood. This will provide a sensory and inspiring learning experience for our visitors, and will start appearing on site from the end of this year.
This funding has already started to build upon the existing work within the New Forest, and will continue to help us celebrate and promote its fascinating story. Every penny will help us improve the experience for you, our visitors and inspire a new generation of New Forest fans. Soon there’ll be many more activities and learning opportunities at the New Forest, so we’ll keep you posted on our progress.
For more information on the Landscape Partnership and how you can play your part, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/landscapepartnership.
For more information on the Heritage Lottery Fund, visit www.hlf.org.uk/heritagelottery.