Key partners and supporters of the Routes to the River Tone project - Somerset Wildlife Trust’s most successful urban wildlife project - came together on Wednesday (22nd March) to celebrate the project’s achievements over the last three years, which has been made possible through funding from Heritage Lottery Funding, Tesco and corporate partners, Viridor. A Thank you also goes to their project partners, such as Taunton Association for the Homeless (TAH) who have helped develop and deliver the project’s community engagement work.
The evening event at the Museum of Somerset, which also welcomed the mayor, included some inspiring presentations from RTRT Project Manager, Nick Tomlinson – who highlighted and celebrated Taunton’s amazing green spaces, wild places and the wonderful wildlife that lives along the River Tone, and encouraged people to find the time to explore and enjoy these special places and reconnect to nature - both for the health and wellbeing benefits for themselves and to help bring communities closer together.
Simon Nash, Chief Executive of Somerset Wildlife Trust, outlined the project’s plans to continue working within the community, with particular reference as to how the legacy of the project will for example support the ambitions of Taunton’s new Garden Town status and how in general, community based support for involvement and engagement with the environment is the key to the long term, sustainable management of Taunton’s wild and open spaces, as well as the health and wellbeing of the communities that live and work there.
About the project
The Routes to The River Tone project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with additional support from Viridor Waste Management, was launched in 2014. Over the past three years the project has worked with local people and partnership organisations to provide a wide range of public events, school wildplay sessions, citizen science projects, interpretation for greenspaces, community gardens, trails (art, history, misguided, story and geocaching) and opportunities to get involved in practical conservation.
Picture above: Nick Tomlinson Project Mager (Routes to the River Tone RTRT)
Left to right: Simon Nash Ceo of SWT, Steph Rooke (Viridor), Emma Wood (Viridor), Mel Huggins (Viridor), Rose Gater (RTRT), Nick Tomlinson (RTRT,) Councillor Vivienne Stock-Williams, ( Mayor of Taunton Deane), Claire Mountjoy (RTRT), Olivia Dullaghan (RTRT), Dan Cooke (Viridor)
Left to right: Tony Francis (Taunton Association for the Homeless), Simon Nash ( CEO of SWT), Nick Tomlinson ( Project Manager RTRT), Kirst Saul ( Tesco), Bobbi Evans ( Tesco)
Nick Tomlinson, Routes the The River Tone Manager commented, “We really weren’t prepared for the overwhelming response we received when we started to talk to people from the communities, neighbourhoods, schools and community groups across Taunton. The cumulative amount of passion, enthusiasm and interest that people have shown over the past three years and the popularity of the events we have put on, really shows that people in Taunton really do value nature and understand how critical it is that we make ourselves responsible for ensuring our wild places are still there to enjoy going forwards.”
The RTRT project has been the main vehicle for the delivery of SWT’s Taunton Living Landscape work over the last 3 years and, whilst the project is ending its commitment to working in Taunton to deliver our vision is not. Somerset Wildlife Trust is seeking funding to develop and deliver our community engagement work in Taunton to allow us to continue to deliver our vision. Please get in touch if you would like to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
left to right: Stephanie Wheeler, Claire Mountjoy, Rose Gater, and Olivia Cooke ( Routes to the River Tone)