The Urban River Enhancement Scheme

The River after regeneration

Making a difference

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for heritage

  • The river corridor is better connected from the Ribble Estuary through to the river tributaries above Burnley. Five sections of river channel have been improved with fish and eel passes installed on Burnley’s oldest weir. Wildlife can now move freely and species such as trout are already increasing in numbers.Surveys by Ribble Rivers Trust volunteers have recorded salmon fry in new locations in the Calder River for the first time in decades.
  • The habitats and appearance of the riverbanks have been improved through removing litter and tackling invasive plant species.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for people

  • People of all abilities can access the rivers following the installation of two new bridges and improvements to three kilometres of footpath. New views have been opened up through windows in bankside railings and people can learn about the rivers’ heritage from new interpretation panels.
  • Burnley’s young people know more about their river’s heritage. The ‘River in the Classroom’ programme provided indoor and outdoor learning experiences for 450 pupils in nine primary schools and teachers used the initiative to develop literacy, scientific and creative skills. Over 800 pupils from 27 secondary schools created a spectacular outdoor theatre performance about the rivers.
  • Teenagers gained experience and qualifications through an 18-month, artist-led programme, which allowed them to explore the rivers using photography, film, visual art and creative writing. 230 young people attended workshops, including 20 autistic young people and 27 people from black and ethnic minority communities. 14 members of the group achieved nationally recognised Arts Award Qualifications.
  • Around 1,700 volunteers developed skills in activities such as tree planting, building otter holts and path construction. 30 people gained certification in River Habitat Management, 30 people qualified in river invertebrate monitoring and 15 gained qualifications allowing them to deal with invasive species.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for communities

  • Over 1,500 people participated in events such as the Big Splash day, photography safaris, a guided walk programme and a book launch. An intergenerational project to collect river-related stories involved older residents and members of ethnic minority communities and provided training opportunities for local students and volunteers.
  • A focus on using local contractors and suppliers boosted the town’s economy and helped local workers to understand the project. Around 50 businesses became advocates for healthy rivers by clearing rubbish and promoting the Big Splash event.

Lessons learnt

  • Effective communication of project aims is essential to ensure contractors and consultants understand their roles and responsibilities.
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