Ouse Valley CARES

Community Pitch - Voting closed

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The Ouse Valley CARES (Climate Action, Resilient Ecosystems and Sustainability) Project is a National Lottery-funded project which aims to bring the community together to inspire positive action to mitigate the effects of climate change in the lower Ouse valley and Havens.

As part of our aim to help local communities in the Ouse Valley build resilience to the impacts of climate change, we invited organisations and community groups to pitch their ideas.

Those receiving 50 votes or more will be funded by the South Downs National Park Trust, and the two with the most votes will win an additional prize of £300 each to put towards their projects.


An announcement will be made shortly regarding the winning projects.

Warm Home Box

Warm Home Box is an idea from Lewes Climate Hub, a not-for-profit alliance of around twenty community groups in and around Lewes Town in East Sussex, taking action on climate change and ecological breakdown.

We will make an attractive portable display box with samples of inexpensive insulation materials, draughtproofing and magnetic secondary glazing, with instruction leaflets and stockists. We will take this to events such as Hub/Ovesco energy checking sessions; to groups and public events across Lewes; hold workshops at the Hub and use the new Cargo Bike hire scheme in Lewes. It will enable people to do DIY work, and understand better what tradespeople could do for them. We will show short videos such as the one our experts have already done. We have learned through Open Eco Houses that people like seeing and handling samples of materials, and are encouraged to do work on their own houses. It benefits anyone wanting to improve home energy efficiency, including renters unable to make big changes to their dwellings. We will seek out people via Hub member groups and via other contacts such as food banks: we are aware of pockets of great need in Lewes. The project will be shared via the Climate Hub, via local councils and other networks. The box will be taken to other groups after the project is finished. The learning from this year will help develop further work.

Gardening in Association

GIA seeks to grow the joy of plants and gardening in everyone, enriching lives, building communities, increasing employment opportunities, advocating good horticultural practice, and positively impacting the environment.

Engaging with Ouse Valley/Seahaven communities that are experiencing challenges combating climate change due to financial stresses or limited community social interaction.

Delivering hosted gardening clubs undertaking:
– social meetings (including talks)
– practical demonstrations and activities community events (including plant/seed swaps)
– garden/green space visits

Climate Objectives:
– Promoting horticultural practices that retain more carbon in plants and soil
– Encouraging biodiversity
– Improving community horticultural knowledge and skills with a sustainable focus
– Promoting water-wise solutions and practice to conserve water
– Promoting the potential of solar in gardening
– Advocating a reduction and elimination of chemical interventions for plant health and crop production
– Promoting a peat free gardening culture
– Promoting growing your own food
– Harnessing the community’s potential to effectively compost
– Promoting a reduce – reuse – recycle – reinvest gardening culture
– Improving awareness of plant biosecurity, pest, and diseases issues

All the Ouse Valley/Seahaven community will benefit but hosting in community hubs of Cradle Hill & Chyngton Seaford, Denton Island Newhaven, Piddinghoe Ave Peacehaven, Landport Lewes ensures maximised interactions in communities that need it most.

Updates will be shared at community events, by email, social media, local print press, local radio/TV.

Chyngton Wildlife Garden Club

Chyngton Wildlife Garden Club is a project from Chyngton Primary School.

At Chyngton we want to create a wildlife garden.

The number of garden birds, butterflies and invertebrate species are declining, it’s more important than ever before to provide space for wildlife.

We plan to create a range of habitats, including wild flower areas, bird boxes, bird feeders and hedgehog homes.   Additionally, we wish to rejuvenate our vegetable beds.

To ensure maximum growing time we would like to erect a recycled bottle green house.

This would be a fantastic way to demonstrate to pupils the value in collaborating on a project, creating a useable working green house for very little money and reducing waste (even recycled waste).

The other key focus is to provide an outdoor learning environment the garden will have great diversity that could be used across the curriculum.

Most importantly the wildlife garden will demonstrate the importance of nature for the well-being of people and wildlife.

The project will be shared via social media, local paper and school newsletters.

We plan to enhance this area over the next 3 years and make it a place that all children can use as an outdoor learning environment.

The Living Coast Undersea Experience

KP Projects creates projects around the environment and sustainability, including raising awareness of local environments and new technologies in public spaces.

The Living Coast Undersea Experience is a virtual reality experience, opening up one of the UK’s most unique marine environments, Beachy Head West Marine Conservation Zone, to everyone.

Imagine diving under the waves to experience the rich variety of marine life and chalk reef, just off the Sussex coast… without getting wet… or cold!

The Living Coast Undersea Experience, is an interactive virtual reality and 360 film, offering a powerful, educational experience of Beachy Head West Marine Conservation Zone (Brighton-Beachy Head) akin to diving, to encourage proconservation behaviour changes.

The experience tours to community venues, events and schools to reach the widest range of people, in two versions:

  • HTC Vive, where users explore a virtual 4m2 area of the chalk reef, picking up rocks and rubbish, 16-20 users per hour
  • A 360 film, with cable-free headsets, for 50-60 users per hour

For our project, we offer training, for six unemployed people from Newhaven, with paid work experience at four events:

  • Training and Event 1: Denton Island Community Centre, Newhaven
  • Event 2: Depot Cinema, Lewes
  • Event 3: SEA Climate Hub, Seaford
  • Event 4: Peacehaven Community Hall and schools will be invited to these events to explore presenting the piece as part of a wider, ongoing tour across the region. This offers trainees potential future work.

Fundraising and partnership development to ensure future touring is ongoing.

Affinity Rowing Club

Affinity Rowing Club’s aim is to increase our community’s access to the unique sport of pilot gig rowing.

Our experienced coxes, coach and Mental Health professionals allow us to provide a unique holistic approach to rowing whereby technical skills, physical fitness and mental well-being are improved for our members.

Despite Newhaven’s many green and blue assets, the health of the population is a concern, with a high prevalence of residents (23%) with a limiting long-term health problem or disability.

We want to sustainably grow, to support an active community, delivering improvements to our town’s blue infrastructure encouraging healthy lifestyles and widening access to leisure activities.

We currently use a coaching and safety boat alongside our pilot-gig.

To keep costs low, this is propelled by a polluting and noisy outboard.

We are almost carbon neutral as we do not use a vehicle to launch and our pilot gig is entirely muscle powered!

We schedule nature rows in order to appreciate the wildlife along our river, in a non intrusive manner. This includes regular otter, seal and dolphin sightings, with seals being particularly fond of playing around our boat.

We support citizen science by sharing details of dolphin sightings with the Sussex Dolphin Project.

We have supported the Sailboat Project Carbon Neutral cargo event by transporting cargo from Newhaven to Lewes by Rowboat.

We want to invest in an electric outboard and the solar infrastructure to charge it, in order to take the final step to being operationally carbon neutral.

Competition Terms and Conditions

  • The Community Pitch vote is run by the South Downs National Park Trust (SDNPT)
  • Copyright of the videos lies with the entrants to the Community Pitch competition and the SDNPT is not responsible for the images, sound or third part website links included
  • Projects achieving 50 or more votes will be funded. The two with the highest votes will each receive a £300 additional sum to put towards their project.

Rules for the vote:

(1) Votes must be cast by 23:00 GMT on Wednesday 2 February 2022 (“the Closing Date”).

(2) One (1) vote is permitted per person and will be restricted to one (1) vote per Internet Protocol (“IP”) address.

(3) By entering the Vote, voters agree to these terms and conditions.

(4) In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the SDNPT reserves the right to cancel, modify, extend or suspend the Vote.

(5) All details and other restrictions applying to the Vote not specified in these Terms and Conditions shall be determined by the SDNPT in its sole discretion