As it draws to a close a £1.8 million scheme, which helped protect and preserve Nidderdale’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been hailed by the community for its ‘legacy’ of working with young people.
The Landscape Matters Conference in Nidderdale, which took place last month, highlighted changes to how schemes such as the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership could be funded in the future.
After four years, the UNLP, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will officially end in February, 2019. Its work has reached across the community, bringing together groups for projects including archeological surveys and managing heritage sites.
It has also enabled almost 1,000 children and young people to learn heritage skills, such as stone masonry, and learning more about the area - thanks to the scheme bringing together groups including the Nidderdale Bird Watchers and Nidderdale Visual Arts. Working with the charity, the Cardigan Centre more than 500 pupils from North Leeds were brought to the Dales as part of these projects.
Louise Brown, Scheme Manager for the UNLP said: “It is about helping them understand more about this wonderful landscape, and how truly special it is. When you instil that knowledge in people at an early age they keep it forever, and go home to share it with their families. They are our ambassadors for the landscape.”
While the Nidderdale AONB has approved a ‘legacy plan’, to see how projects funded over the years could be retained, resources have been allocated to help continue providing heritage skill training.
Headteacher of Nidderdale High School, Kath Jordan said: “Our Year 11 students who have been lucky enough to be part of the GCSE Art course, run by Nidderdale Visual Art at Number 6, have gained not just academically, with fantastic GCSE but also socially and in terms of future aspirations. The opportunity to work with crafts professionals, learning new skills and accessing mentoring is unique to this partnership.
“Now that the HLF funding is at an end, the school and NVA are committed to working in partnership to continue this innovative course and create a lasting legacy.”
Keith Tordoff, Chair of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, applauded the work with children and young people, adding his hopes that more could be done in the future through similar schemes to showcase the heritage of businesses in the area.He said: “Clearly this has been a great thing for Nidderdale, probably the most important being the work with schools and helping to preserve our heritage, and that will be the lasting legacy.
“In a community it is so important to engage with younger people, so they can learn and understand what is the history of Nidderdale, and what helped create it.
“They brought funding to the table which has helped younger people understand and take part.”
The Partnership have also recently premiered a short film, commissioned to showcase the work carried out by the group over the years. It is also hoped it will inspire groups to continue work together.
It will be available to view on the AONB Youtube Channel later this year.