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Site Visit: Wilder Walkmill

The Evaluator is delighted to be working with a new client, West Cumbria Rivers Trust to develop and write an evaluation framework for the nature site, and former colliery, Walkmill in Cumbria.

The site is currently used a lot by dog walkers and nature lovers, and has some quite unusual wildlife include rare dragonflies and adders. It is the site of a former colliery and we are excited to figure out how to link the industrial heritage into our evaluation plans. You can see more about West Cumbria Rivers Trust at their website here. 

We started this project with a site visit to chat to the main project team, and meet the consultants working on heritage interpretation, Minerva Heritage. We quickly found out we both are very keen on working WITH people, rather than FOR people and are looking forward to getting to know more about interpretation. You can see more about Minerva Heritage at their website here. 

It just happened to be a gloriously sunny day, what a wonderful way to start a project!

Image of site, Walkmill in Cumbria.

New Client; Ribble Rivers Trust

The Evaluator is delighted to be working with a new client, The Ribble Rivers Trust.

Ribble Rivers Trust is a UK based charity working to improve, protect and promote the River Ribble for both people and wildlife.  We are based in Clitheroe, an ancient market town at the heart of the Ribble Valley, and work with the public and many organisations to deliver river improvements across the entire Ribble catchment.

We are working with them to summarise a large five year project into one final evaluation. This involves categorising documentation, running statistical analysis, carrying out staff and partner interviews, designing gap analysis materials, and collating all of the information into one, visual and easy to read evaluation. 

Ribble Life Together has been running since 2016 and is a large, complex project, which worked with young people, schools, farmers, scientists, and lots of volunteers and partner organisations too. It’s a big story to tell the impact of. 

New Client; Durham Wildlife Trust

The Evaluator is delighted to work with a new partner, Durham Wildlife Trust, for their Green Recovery funded programme, Healing Nature.

Durham Wildlife Trust (their website is here) explains…

“Government funding from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund has enabled the Trust to form a Healing Nature project team, tasked with protecting and ecologically restoring important habitats, including grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands. The team includes three new full-time posts, three part-time posts and four trainees, recruited through the Kickstart programme. They will work alongside volunteers to restore the sites and create more resilient conditions for a rich variety of wildlife.

The work will include woodland management, pond restoration, grassland management, scrub clearance, and planting hedges. Healing Nature will also have a significant impact on communities, making sure residents are better connected to their local wildlife sites. This will include new paths, gates, and signage to make the sites more welcoming and easier to use.

Furthermore, the Trust will also arrange activities and events – both face to face and online – to encourage community groups, families, young people and local residents to get involved, as well as delivering educational sessions at schools.”

This is a slightly unusual evaluation, as we are working with another evaluator, Simon Lees, from Countryside Training Partnership (their website is here) who are doing the overall evaluation, and we are providing a series of quick turnabout practical feedback loops regarding the work they are doing with people. We are happy to work flexibly like this if it is what suits the client best. 

We’ll be figuring out what people are experiencing in the project activities, how its helping them connect to nature, what it is doing for wellbeing, and how they are hearing about it. Learning more about their audiences, means the trust can plan better programmes in future, and know what works, and what still needs a tweak. It’s all about making data-driven-decisions. It’s also all about people, and that’s the work that gets us excited!