The Solent Way Project, run by The Conservation Volunteers has been visited by The Southern Co-operative as part of the judging process as a finalist in the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hampshire’s prestigious Countryside Awards.
The Conservation Volunteers are a national voluntary organisation that aims to create healthier and happier communities for all. Working with local communities, The Conservation Volunteers have improved and helped to maintain the Solent Way, a 60mile stretch of walkway along the Hampshire coast.
Gemma Lacey, Director of Sustainability and Communications for The Southern Co-operative and judge of the awards said: “This extensive project is connecting communities along Hampshire’s coastline, making it easier for people to access and enjoy the coast by opening up areas and improving footpaths. Its reach has been huge, involving volunteers from schools, businesses and local communities across Hampshire, providing training opportunities for both volunteers and the unemployed.
“The Conservation Volunteers’ programme of events is also educating and inspiring people about all the Hampshire coast has to offer. We have been really impressed with the community reach of the collective projects, mobilising a broad range of volunteers and support to enable all communities’ better access to the Solent Way.”
The awards celebrate a beautiful and living countryside that everyone can value and enjoy and are organised by charity CPRE Hampshire, the Campaign to Protect Rural England in association with The Southern Co-operative.
CPRE Hampshire Chairman, Dee Haas said: “We run these awards because we want to celebrate a beautiful, diverse and living countryside that everyone can value and enjoy. By highlighting good practice, we hope to inspire people of all ages to try something similar in their communities and also to encourage debate about the balance between protecting the countryside and encouraging a thriving rural economy.
“We are very grateful to our lead sponsor, The Southern Co-operative, and to all our sponsors who support these important awards and look forward to visiting this year’s diverse selection of entries from all corners of Hampshire”.
The individual Award category sponsors are Community and Voluntary – The Southern Co-operative, Young People – Steve’s Leaves, Rural Enterprise – Dutton Gregory Solicitors, and Sustainable Buildings – Radian.
Award judges are visiting all projects this summer before making their decision on the overall winners. All the finalists will be invited to the Countryside Awards Ceremony on 15thSeptember 2016 where the winners will be announced by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire.