Why Harrogate school has partnered with community-owned woodland project as Long Lands Common continues to inspire support

Supporting Long Lands Common - Emma Meadus, headteacher of Coppice Valley Primary School in Harrogate, with pupils Freddie, Hannah, Vivien, Hugo and Fraser and teacher Miss Wright.  (Picture by Artemis Swann)Supporting Long Lands Common - Emma Meadus, headteacher of Coppice Valley Primary School in Harrogate, with pupils Freddie, Hannah, Vivien, Hugo and Fraser and teacher Miss Wright.  (Picture by Artemis Swann)
Supporting Long Lands Common - Emma Meadus, headteacher of Coppice Valley Primary School in Harrogate, with pupils Freddie, Hannah, Vivien, Hugo and Fraser and teacher Miss Wright. (Picture by Artemis Swann)
A Harrogate headteacher says she is backing Long Lands Common community-owned woodland project because it will teach local children they can make a positive impact on the planet whilst encouraging them to grow into socially responsible young people.

If Nidd Gorge Community Action is successful in its efforts to raise £300,000 to purchase 30 acres of farmland between Harrogate and Knaresborough by November with the selling of community shares, organisers believe the involvement of the children of Harrogate and Knaresborough will be absolutely vital to the future of the land which is to be known as Long Lands Common.

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To date, an incredible £205,300 has been raised for the project which includes a children’s wood, tree cathedral, meadowland, grassland, wetlands and ponds.

Emma Meadus, Headteacher of Coppice Valley Primary School, said: “Young children need to know that they have a voice and they can use it to make a difference to their own future and future generations.

"Having an opportunity to get involved in a real campaign in their local area, shows them that they can have an impact in making a better world.

“Coppice Valley is an Eco School and our children know how it feels to be involved in caring for their environment – they designed our garden and allotment at the front of the school and tend to it each week.

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"We teach our children to appreciate and respect nature and that it is our civil duty to protect it for future generations.

"To be involved in Long Lands Common out in the wider community will be incredibly important in helping our local children grow into socially responsible young people.

"This inspiring legacy project will need our continued commitment over the years, and our families will love knowing they are part of something important and bigger than themselves and that they will have a special place to visit that they have been part of creating.”

Coppice Valley, which also supported last year’s successful Save Nidd Gorge Campaign, has come on board as a Long Lands Common School Partner and both staff and children are getting behind the project’s latest publicity campaign in a variety of ways including putting up posters, taking home leaflets and talking to friends and families about why they should buy shares.

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As well as Coppice Valley Primary, Starbeck Primary Academy has been behind the project since day one.

Jo Smalley, membership secretary of Long Lands Common, said: “It is wonderful to have Coppice Valley on board as one of our school partners. We are so grateful for all the support that staff and children have already shown us.

"We look forward to working with Coppice Valley and other schools across Harrogate and Knaresborough early on to shape the future of Long Lands Common.

"It will be a special day when we welcome staff, children and their families on site to enjoy the many educational and volunteering opportunities that a community owned woodland has to offer.

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"We want local children to forge a strong bond with the landscape and enjoy time in it and feel connected to it and want to look after it, so they will go on and teach the next generation to do the same."

The Long Lands Common team would also like to hear from other schools across Harrogate and Knaresborough who are keen to come on board as school partners not only to help promote the project so the fundraising target is achieved, but also to establish links so that local children can get the most out of learning opportunities at their community owned woodland. Long Lands Common will border the Nidderdale Greenway close to its starting point at The Avenue, Starbeck and the Bilton Triangle.

How Harrogate schools can support Long Lands Common

The project will contribute to the new Northern Forest project which aims to plant 50 million trees across Northern England. For more information visit: https://thenorthernforest.org.uk/

Those schools wishing to sign up as Long Lands Common School Partners should email Jo Smalley, Membership Secretary, at [email protected]

How to buy shares in Long Lands Common

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As well as individuals and organisations being able to purchase community shares in Long Lands Common, they are also available to buy as gifts.

The minimum age to become a shareholder and member of Long Lands Common is 16 years.

Anyone wanting to leave their shares as a legacy in the event of their death to a named inheritor can do so and if inheritors are children they receive an illustrated certificate to notify them of the shareholder’s wishes.

The Long Lands Common team, which was awarded the national Community Shares Standard Mark for best practice, has made sure that applying for shares is as straightforward as possible.

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Applications for shares can be made online by visiting www.longlandscommon.org or by filling out paper application forms which can be downloaded from the website or requested in the post by calling 01423 560283.

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