Wildlife project will transform River Stour into source of pride

A project to transform a Black Country river into a source of pride for the community has been boosted by government funding.

The River Stour has been described as a vital part of the Black Country’s network of wildlife sites
The River Stour has been described as a vital part of the Black Country’s network of wildlife sites

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country has been awarded £249,700 funding for "Love Your River Stour", an engagement and river restoration project by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The Love Your River Stour project will focus on Dudley and Wolverhampton to transform the River Stour and the green spaces along its banks into a beautiful and wildlife-rich source of pride for local communities.

Simon Atkinson, head of conservation at The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, said the River Stour and its tributaries were a vital part of the region's network of wildlife sites.

He said: "The green spaces along them are where many thousands of people have access to local open space.

"We’re really excited that Love Your River Stour has received this funding from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund as it will enable us to make these areas even better for a range of wildlife including otter, salmon and kingfisher.

"It will also bring many more people into contact with their local wild spaces with all the benefits that this brings."

The project is due to start in September and will run until March 2023 to provide employment opportunities alongside community engagement and youth training whist restoring urban river habitats.

The "Love Your River Stour project" will employ two project officers and two trainees, as well as train 24 young people in nature conservation and deliver conservation and river restoration projects at four sites.

It will also evaluate the benefits the river brings to local communities and to the local economy and deliver a range of engagement sessions, well-being events and "River Ranger" sessions for students.

The project is funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which was developed by Defra and its Arms-Length Bodies and delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

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