Greensand Country Landscape Partnership seeks Conservation & Project Officer

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, Job vacancies, Latest News

Could you make a difference to a whole landscape?

BRCC and the Greensand Trust are the lead bodies for the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, recently established with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Greensand Country comprises the Greensand Ridge (a 35 mile-long narrow wooded sandstone ridge to the south of Bedford), and the Flit Valley.

We are now seeking to fill the important role of Conservation and Project Officer. Help us to create a living and working landscape that is cherished by present and future generations and a rich natural and built heritage which is sustained and understood.

To apply

For further information on how to apply, please download the information pack below. If you would like an informal chat please call Claire on: 07534484971.

Application deadline: Monday 31st July 2017 at 9am

Interviews: Wednesday 9th August 2017 (or an alternative date can be arranged subject to availability)

Downloads:

Information pack – GSCLP Conservation and Project Officer

BRCC Equality & Diversity monitoring form

For more information about the Partnership and the programme visit www.greensandcountry.com.

 

 

 

Etonbury Green Wheel Masterplan announced!

Written by Cliff Andrews on . Posted in Biggleswade Green Wheel, Latest News, Rural Development

We are pleased to announce that the long-awaited Etonbury Green Wheel Masterplan is now our for public consultation (click here):

Produced by BRCC in partnership with CBC and the local stakeholders, the Masterplan identifies proposals for creating an off-road corridor for walkers and riders around the communities of Arlesey, Fairfield and Stotfold, which passes through and beside areas of landscape, wildlife and heritage value.

Subject to consultation responses, it is hoped that the finalised masterplan will be adopted by all stakeholders later this year – and that the practical creation of the Wheel will continue over the next few years.

Downloads

Download: the Etonbury Green Wheel Consultation Flyer (PDF 780KB)

BRCC cheers its volunteers in Central Bedfordshire

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Good Neighbour Scheme, Latest News, Supporting Communities, Volunteering, Walking 4 Health

We are delighted that groups and volunteers supported by BRCC have been recognised by Central Bedfordshire Council at their third Cheering Volunteering awards, which took place at the Grove Theatre, in Dunstable, on the evening of 6 June.

The annual event is intended to thank the many volunteers and voluntary organisations across Central Bedfordshire for the often unheralded work they do to help others in their community.

Flitton & Greenfield Good Neighbours, part of BRCC’s Good Neighbour schemes Network, won the John Buxton Panel’s Choice Award.

Katie and Brian Juffs (pictured), leaders of our Walking 4 Health group in Arlesey, were Highly Commended under the same award.

Ex-BRCC Board member Michael Grant was a runner-up for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

You can find full details at http://centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/news/june/cheering-volunteering.aspx

Fun on the Line at St Albans Abbey

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Community Transport, Latest News

There was a half-term treat at St Albans Abbey station on Friday 2nd June, when a Fun Day was held by the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership. The ALCRP, hosted by BRCC, works to promote and support the rail line from St Albans to Watford.

Children and adults alike were thrilled with the ride-on steam train, face painting, magician, balloon modelling, traditional games and jazz band, amongst many other attractions. The ride-on train provided by the North London Society of Engineers proved to be a popular attraction, allowing a contrast with London Midland’s modern electric trains with a ‘kids travel free’ offer on the day. Kids travelling to the event were also treated to a free goody bag courtesy of The Abbey Line CRP.

The event was supported by volunteers from the Community Rail Partnership’s members and station adopters.

Edna Woname, Abbey Line CRP Officer said ‘The aim was for our Community to come and meet us and learn more about the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership and how its making a difference on the Abbey Line, as well raise the awareness of the line itself which runs between Watford and St Albans Abbey. I am particularly grateful for the support we received from local organisations AECOM, Abbey Theatre, Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, Oaklands College and St Albans Signal Box as our aim is to reach out to the wider community. This was a great event with hundreds of people enjoying the day. I am already planning what we can do next year.”

Steve Helfet, Head of West Coast Services at London Midland said “It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves at St Albans Abbey station and on the train and I’m really pleased that we were able to provide better journeys on the day for so many of our younger guests, with our offer of free travel. Our colleagues at Network Rail were very helpful with the event, which meant we could do so much more, and we are very grateful for their support. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do with the next special event on the line!”

You can find out more about the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership at http://abbeyline.org.uk/

Brickworks Exhibition at Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre

Written by Stephen Sleight on . Posted in Community Transport, MVCRP, Ridgmont Station, Ridgmont Tea Rooms

Take a step back into Bedfordshire’s past at a special one-day Brickworks Exhibition at Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre on Saturday 22nd April from 10:00 – 4:00. Free entry!

Andrew Mortlock, London Brick Archivist, will be bringing an extensive collection of archives, photographs and ephemera connected with the brickworks that used to dominate the landscape along the section of the Marston Vale Line between Bedford and Ridgmont and other areas of Bedfordshire. Andrew will also be bringing his collection of company magazines, the Phorpres News, containing records and photographs of London Brick Company workers.

Andrew and his family are steeped in London Brick with over 200 years’ service dating back to both his grandfathers.

Visitors to previous events were fascinated by Andrew’s exhibition, and a great deal of new information came to light, including photographs of former brickworks employees.

The Heritage Centre and Tea Room will be open as usual.

Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership Officer said, “I am delighted we are able to host a Bedfordshire Brickworks Exhibition at Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre again. The brickworks are such an important part of the history of Bedfordshire and were the catalyst for the construction of the Marston Vale Line 170 years ago.   Please come along to find our more!” 

Above image: Copyright 2017 | Stephen Coleman

Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre in DfT Community Rail Film

Written by Stephen Sleight on . Posted in Community Transport, MVCRP, Ridgmont Station, Ridgmont Tea Rooms

Peter Batten, Head of Stations & Community Rail Policy at the Department for Transport, recently paid a special visit to Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre to record a film on Community Rail to be shown at the National Community Rail Seminar.

Peter met with members of the Friends of Ridgmont Station, Tea Room staff, Marston Vale CRP Officer Stephen Sleight & Faye Lambert, Community Engagement Lead & Head of Community Rail at London Midland, before being filmed in the 170 year-old Booking Office at the Heritage Centre.

The Heritage Centre with its award winning Tea Room was chosen as the base for the film as it meets all of the objectives in the Department for Transport Community Rail Strategy:

  • Increasing passenger numbers
  • Reducing costs
  • Increasing community involvement
  • Assisting regeneration

Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership Officer, said, “I was delighted to welcome a senior official from the Department for Transport to Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre, and to see the building being selected as the focal point for this prestigious film on Community Rail. We are very proud of the building, and it’s terrific that it’s been recognised at a national level”.

Local Area Coordinators needed for new contract in Bedford Borough

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Job vacancies, Latest News, Supporting Communities

BRCC has recently won a contract tendered by Bedford Borough Council for a development partner to introduce Local Area Coordinators across the Borough. The contract is for 2 years, with the option to extend for 1 further year.

The 3 Local Area Coordinators are to be catalysts for the development of community capacity and “self-help” groups. They will foster the creation of, and signpost people to, alternatives that can prevent entry to the care system. Early support and non-statutory intervention to nip problems in the bud and maintain independence is the focus for these roles. The target group is people with some vulnerability but not yet eligible for Council social care services.

In the interests of finding the best possible candidates for these positions, we will consider applications for job share (where a role is shared by two people applying together); job split (where a role is split on a part-time basis between two or more people applying separately); and secondment from other organisations.

An enhanced DBS check is required.

For further details, including how to apply, please download the files below:

BRCC Local Area Coordinator application information Mar 2017

Local Area Coordinator Application Form

BRCC-Job-Application-EO-monitoring

Application deadline: 9am on Wednesday 3rd May 2017.

Interviews: Tuesday 16th or Wednesday 17th May in Cardington.

 

Invitation to submit a tender for ‘Creating a Brand for the Greensand Country’

Written by Lisa King on . Posted in Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, Job vacancies, Latest News

The Greensand  Country Landscape Partnership is an exciting Landscape Partnership project focused on the Greensand Ridge in Bedfordshire, led by the Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and the Greensand Trust.  ‘Greensand Country’ is an island of distinctive, beautiful and loved countryside, based on a band of higher ground stretching from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay, rising out of the surrounding clay vales. It contains all of Bedfordshire’s remaining heathland, more than half of its woodland, and more surviving historic parkland than any other landscape in the country, often surrounding notable manor houses. This landscape character is a legacy of its underlying Greensand geology, which led to much of it being regarded as ‘marginal land’ not suitable for agriculture, as well as its management over centuries by major estates. The area is one of Natural England’s distinct ‘National Character Areas (NCA 90 – The Wooded Greensand Ridge).

As part of our Development stage we commissioned a Landscape Character Assessment and an Audience Development and Interpretation plan (ADIP).  These both told us unequivocally that this is an under-recognised and under-appreciated landscape.

We want to create a coherent landscape which people identify and where we can tell a joined up story.

The term ‘Greensand Country’ has been adopted by the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership (GSCLP) to encompass the entire landscape and create a shared identity.

We now need create a brand for the Greensand Country; a logo; branding guidelines and a marketing and communications plan.

If you would like to submit a tender for this work, please ask for further details from: clairep@bedsrcc.org.uk

Claire Poulton.

Programme Manager
Greensand Country Landscape Partnership

Central Bedfordshire Village Halls & Community Buildings Survey 2017 – your response is much appreciated

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Community Buildings Advice, Latest News

Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and Central Bedfordshire Council are carrying out a survey to help inform future investment in community facilities and the provision of support services, as well as enabling an up to date directory to be produced.

We are aiming for as comprehensive a response as possible, so if you are involved in managing a community building in Central Bedfordshire, please ensure a response from your committee. You can find the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/centralbedfordshirecommunitybuildingssurvey2017

All people completing the survey will be entered into a prize draw for a free 5-year BRCC membership (currently worth £140) for their building. A full report analysing the findings will be produced and made available online.

If you have any enquiries relating to this survey, please contact Bob Hughes, Community Buildings Adviser, on (01234) 832646 or at bobh@bedsrcc.org.uk.

£1.66 million from Heritage Lottery Fund awarded to help preserve the character of the Greensand Country landscape

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, Latest News

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership (managed by BRCC) is delighted to announce that it has secured £1.66m National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support an array of exciting projects which will help us raise awareness of the hidden heritage of the Greensand Country and to reverse the gradual decline in the distinct character of this beautiful and loved landscape.

‘Greensand Country’ is an island of higher ground, which is made up of the Greensand Ridge and the surrounding river valleys. It stretches from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay, rising out of the flatter clay vales. The area’s sandy soils were not suitable for agriculture, so by medieval times the land was mainly used for grazing, woodland, deer hunting and keeping rabbits. Much of this ‘poor’ land had been used to support the foundation of monasteries, but when these were dissolved under Henry VIII, the land was given away to those in the king’s favour, who built their manor houses and parks up on the former monastic estates. As a result of this history, the area contains all of Bedfordshire’s remaining lowland heathland, more than half of its woodland, and more surviving historic parkland than any other landscape in the country.

However, the landscape’s very distinctive character has been weakening over decades due to modern development and changes in land use. Valuable habitats are becoming fragmented; views of and from the area are being lost or impaired and traditional heritage skills are dying out.

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership has been formed by a range of partners in the area who will work with landowners and local communities to take a joined up approach to meeting the challenges in the area. The Partnership is led by BRCC and the Greensand Trust, and also includes the RSPB, The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity Recording and Monitoring Centre, Bedfordshire Geology Group, Sustrans, British Horse Society, Flitwick Town Council, Shuttleworth College, local landscape author Brian Kerr, Community Voluntary Service, The Shuttleworth Trust, Federation of Small Businesses, Arnold White Estates Limited and Clophill Heritage Trust.

The 4-year programme will deliver the following:

  • Restoration and expansion of key habitats such as lowland heathland and grasslands
  • Events, workshops and festivals focused on the landscape and its heritage
  • Improvements to footpaths, cycle ways and bridleways
  • Much greater provision of information about the area, its hidden stories and its history, and its significance to our national and local heritage
  • Training and apprenticeships in order to develop the skills needed to look after this landscape for the future
  • Opportunities for local communities to volunteer and bid for funding for their own heritage projects

The Partnership is now hard at work getting started on the programme and recruiting three staff (see job advertisement here).

Jon Boswell, Chief Executive at Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and Chair of the GCLP, said: “We are thrilled to have gained this funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver our Landscape Partnership programme with our partners in the area. Even locally, the fascinating heritage of the Greensand Country is not well known. As a result of this funding, we will be able to preserve the distinctive character of much of this beautiful landscape, and provide a multitude of opportunities for local people and visitors to enjoy and learn about the landscape and contribute to its future conservation.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “From healthy heathlands and working woodlands to storytelling and geotrails, we’re delighted to support this project which will achieve a sustainable future for the Greensand landscape and reconnect people with the natural heritage on their doorstep.

“Alongside a diverse partnership of organisations, volunteers and communities will play an integral role in this exciting vision for Greensand Country, gaining the skills and experience needed to not only reverse its decline but ensure it continues to thrive beyond the lifespan of the project.”

If you would like to learn more or get involved please see http://bedsrcc.org.uk/rural/greensand-country-landscape-partnership/

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is made possible by National Lottery players. Without them we couldn’t fund the project.

 

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