School children, local communities and visitors are set to benefit from a grant to Bathscape which has been given initial approval¹ by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme², it was announced today.
The funding will be used in areas including Foxhill and Twerton to encourage people to use the green spaces on their doorstep as well as the wider countryside surrounding Bath. The activities will help people to learn about and experience nature, provide therapeutic ‘cure’ walks, encourage families to spend more time together taking part in outdoor activities such as walking, canoeing and encourage habitat recording and monitoring.
An outstanding quality of the City of Bath World Heritage Site is the close relationship of the city with the surrounding landscape. Georgian town planning deliberately took advantage of the picturesque setting, blending countryside and town. Views and vistas and facilities for outdoor social interaction were created as Bath grew in significance as a spa destination – a place to enjoy and get well – a legacy that continues today.
Dr Bruce Laurence, the Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We’re well aware that in today’s society, children can often be at home playing on tablets and phones. We would like to see them spending more time being active outdoors, as it’s an excellent way to get healthy exercise and for the whole family to enjoy quality time together.
“We very much welcome the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will help our communities connect with the surrounding countryside for the benefit of their health and wellbeing.
“We know that exercise and fresh air can lead to many benefits in both physical and mental health, so projects such as a green gym and walking groups, will be hugely beneficial.”
A development grant of £176,800 has been awarded by HLF to enable the Bathscape Partnership to develop its plans and seek final approval for the full grant amount of £1,655,200 at a later date.
Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet member for Community Services, said: “We want to improve the quality of the lives of people living here and this money will play a key role in helping the Bathscape partnership to achieve this. The projects provided by this money will not only be accessible to those in the local area, but are open to everyone in Bath and North East Somerset. We hope that by providing outside facilities and activities we will encourage people to not only enjoy being outdoors but to inspire them to assist with its future care.
“We know that people of all ages can thrive when they take part in and enjoy outdoor activities. Outdoor learning can be hugely beneficial, particularly for young people, who learn vital skills like teamwork and leadership. The outside environment can inspire creativity and help stimulate the imagination so this money will provide fantastic opportunities to all those who take part.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “Our historic landscapes are incredibly important to people’s wellbeing and need to be protected. Some of the landscapes we are funding today are in the most remote parts of the UK; others form an important backdrop to some of our largest cities. What they all have in common is the potential to make people’s lives better, which is why they are so richly deserving of National Lottery money.”
The Bathscape Partnership members are: Bath & North East Somerset Council, National Trust, Bath Preservation Trust, University of Bath, Bath Spa University, Curo Housing, Wessex Water, Visit Bath, Avon Wildlife Trust, Cotswolds Conservation Board, Joint Local Access Forum, Federation of Bath Residents Associations, Wiltshire Council. The Partnership is supported by other bodies and organisations including Natural England and Historic England.