November saw the culmination of the first phase of the project, with the launch of the Connecting the Culm Forum following a series of events to raise awareness of the issues affecting the Culm catchment and the development of several online tools. The Forum Launch event provided us with over 250 different comments, suggestions and leads and we have been digesting and analysing these as we plan the next stage of the project. The image above is part of our Mural whiteboard showing some of that feedback – and you can view the whole board in detail here.
Our goal now is to get to work on the development of the Blueprint in earnest. Many of the questions we asked during the Launch Week were about how we should best organise ourselves and the idea of Working Groups covering both geographic areas (Lower, Mid and Upper Culm) and cross-cutting themed groups was generally supported. The diagram below shows how we are planning to organise things.
We will soon define the boundaries for the Geographic groups so you can decide which one suits you best, but of course you are welcome to join more than one group and all of the groups will be open to anyone at any time.
On the cross-cutting theme groups, Water Quality (with a lot of expertise and knowledge offered by the angling community), Nature-Based Solutions (including wildlife recording and flood and drought issues), and Access to and along the river, especially linking up communities by new footpaths and cycleways, were all major areas of interest.
We will be following up soon with details of the first meetings of the various groups and will be sharing the meeting dates and joining details on the website throughout the coming months. We’ll also send around details by our newsletter but if you’d like to sign up for any group directly, please click on the button below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.