Hello I’m Kate Fuller, the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) Community Engagement and Projects Officer and I work around the IFLI partnership area. TCV Scotland asked me to be a guest blogger this month, so I hope you enjoy reading about the Initiative and how TCV supporters and local communities can help shape our work.
The IFLI is a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) ‘Landscape Partnership Scheme’ located over 200km² of the upper Forth Estuary. The partnership is led by RSPB Scotland, with Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Falkirk Councils, Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland, SEPA, Sustrans, Central Scotland Forest Trust and TCV Scotland. This mix of organisations brings a wealth of expertise and experience as well as some competition as to who can provide the best meeting refreshments. As a past TCV volunteer I know how important good biscuits are!
The IFLI area starts in the North at Stirling Old Bridge, then runs through Alloa, past the bottom of Devilla Forest, looping around High Valleyfield, down to Limekilns, sailing over to Blackness Castle, past Kinneil and Bo’ness, flying up the M9 at Grangemouth then wending our way past Airth and Fallin until we get back to the edge of Stirling. The landscape we are focused on hosts diverse habitats, many communities and interlinked layers of history from pre-Roman to the present day.
HLF funded Landscape Partnership Schemes are located all over the UK, in fact there were 83 at the last count so there might well be one near you! A near neighbour to IFLI is the Ochils Landscape Partnership, which TCV Scotland is also involved in. Whilst the distinctive landscapes that each scheme chooses to focus on can be quite different, they are linked by their common aim to improve outcomes for heritage, people and communities. The work of the IFLI is based around our vision:
Our vision is of an Inner Forth Landscape where the natural, cultural and historical wealth of the area is revealed, enhanced and made accessible to both residents and visitors. Where important historical and natural landscape features will be in a good condition and future change will be embraced by a landscape better able to cope with change.
If you have worked for, volunteered with or followed the progress of TCV you will know that it is an organisation passionate about empowering communities to take positive action for their local environment. IFLI wants to capture a little bit of that and get the people who live, work and play around the Inner Forth area enjoying, recording and getting active in the landscape. There is already a lot of interest in what the Initiative and communities can achieve together for the Inner Forth and we want to keep that interest growing.
This year I am assisting partners and other groups around the landscape to develop projects to become part of the Initiative. By the end of our development year in October 2013 these projects will be packaged together to make up the £4million IFLI scheme, which we will re-submit to HLF and await their decision on. In July 2012 IFLI was granted a ‘first round pass’ meaning we have an indication of positive support from HLF, but getting approved at this second stage is the real test. We hope that the commitment and enthusiasm of our partners and local communities will pay off and subject to future confirmation by HLF we aim to deliver the work of the Initiative between May 2014 -2018.
Projects will range from providing opportunities for schools, groups and individual to discover and look after the Inner Forth, to creation of new wetland areas, improving management of brownfield sites for invertebrates and consolidation of built heritage features. We will create varied volunteer and apprenticeship opportunities for you to take part in, improve access routes between communities and the Forth, and facilitate research into the fascinating mining and trading heritage of the IFLI area, not to mention the wildlife which is often overlooked.
We would love to hear from you to help shape projects, which is why we will be visiting events around the IFLI area this summer with our displays and holding a series of small consultations where anyone can drop in and find out more about what is proposed in their area. More information will be available soon, so sign up to our newsletter or keep an eye on our website for more information. To get you thinking I will leave you with a question… What would help make green spaces around the Inner Forth a great community resource? If you have any thoughts why not drop me a line?
Thanks for reading,
Kate (email@example.com or 01324 831 568)