The Solent Way Project Wins 2016 Community and Voluntary Countryside Award

The Solent Way Project, run by The Conservation Volunteers, has been crowned the winner of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hampshire’s Countryside Awards in The Southern Co-operative sponsored ‘Community and Voluntary’ category.

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.

L-R: Laura Howles from The Conservation Volunteers , Gemma Lacey from The Southern Co-operatrive, Natalie Hands from Hampshire County Council, Ian Wilson from The Conservation Volunteers and HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq.

L-R: Laura Howles from The Conservation Volunteers , Gemma Lacey from The Southern Co-operatrive, Natalie Hands from Hampshire County Council, Ian Wilson from The Conservation Volunteers and HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq.

Gemma Lacey, Director of Sustainability and Communications at The Southern Co-operative 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 Solent Way Project stood out because of the sheer community reach of its collective projects, mobilising a diverse and broad range of volunteers to come together to not only improve access to our coastline but to educate and inspire young people and adults alike about all our coast has to offer.”

The countryside conservation charity, CPRE Hampshire, runs the awards to celebrate a beautiful and living countryside that everyone can value and enjoy. During the awards ceremony, held at Itchen Abbas and Avington Village Hall, the judges were united in how difficult the task had been to decide on the winners from a unique group of entries from across Hampshire.

CPRE Hampshire Chairman, Dee Haas said: “The 10th annual CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards attracted some particularly inspiring finalists. It is so great to see communities getting involved in their local countryside in their different ways.”

Alongside lead sponsor, The Southern Co-operative, the individual award category sponsors attending the event were The Southern Co-operative sponsoring the Community and Voluntary Award, Steve’s Leaves sponsoring the Young People Award, Dutton Gregory Solicitors sponsoring the Rural Enterprise Award, and Radian, sponsoring the Sustainable Buildings Award.