Development funding of £253,600 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help Warwickshire Wildlife Trust progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date.
The scheme will create 3 new jobs and aim to restore and celebrate the natural, built and cultural heritage of the river, which starts near Corley Moor to the west of the city and travels through a number of greenspaces like Coundon Wedge and Lakeview Park before disappearing beneath the city in a large pipe underground.
Match funding for the scheme has been provided by Coventry City Council, the Environment Agency, Severn Trent, Citizen Housing and Diocese of Coventry. Collaborating with those partners and others including Historic Coventry and City of Culture, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust will be working with local communities to enhance the area for the benefit of wildlife and people. Helping locals to improve, interpret, share and celebrate all aspects of the river’s heritage.
The scheme will investigate the possibility of using virtual reality and other innovative techniques to allow people to better understand where the river is beneath their feet in the city. Enabling people to reconnect with their river and celebrate the role it plays in the past, present and future.
A key element of the scheme is to raise awareness of the existing natural and built heritage already present on the river. Two Grade 2 listed bridges, one scheduled monument (a single span bridge), and two locally listed sluice gates span the river. The ruins of an old chapel sit adjacent to it in Spon End. These, and other features go largely unnoticed by people who pass it during their busy lives. The scheme will aim to safeguard, restore and interpret these features to help the people of Coventry be proud of their river.
The scheme will also develop an extensive volunteer and events programme designed to enable local people to develop a sense of ownership for their river. Working with community groups and schools, people from across Coventry and further afield will benefit from a revitalised River Sherbourne, which will change lives forever.
Commenting on the award, Ian Jelley, Director of Living Landscapes at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with the news the National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting this scheme. We have been working in partnership with local people for over five years developing ideas and this investment enables us to make a real impact on the ground. 2020 is Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s 50th anniversary, and with next year being City of Culture, this is excellent timing. We are really excited at what this scheme could deliver for people and wildlife in Coventry.”
* National Lottery Heritage Fund grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds. The River Sherbourne Valley Living Landscape has initially been granted Round One development funding of £253,600 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund at Round Two, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £1,815.600.