About a2nipswich

The HABITAT project, which became known as “a2nipswich”, was created to meet the need for a means of creating opportunities for people from diverse and hard-to-reach backgrounds to access the natural world. The aim was that by offering a range of non-traditional activities we could reach a wider audience than traditional conservation volunteering organisations, work to bring those people into a position of understanding and valuing the natural world and their local green spaces and, ultimately, to leave a legacy of volunteers to continuing caring for those spaces.

The project started on 1st March 2010 with the Project Coordinator starting in post at the end of May 2010 and the Project Officer in June 2010. The project was led by CSV, in partnership with The Greenways Countryside Project, a conservation organisation that works with volunteers to manage green spaces in and around Ipswich.

Kerala activity morningThe project ran a wide variety of activities designed to encourage people of all backgrounds to get involved. Photography walks to bonfire parties, bug hunts to filming projects. With no specific target groups, we targeted residential areas around our key sites, to reach a cross section of the community and engage them in the green space on their doorstep. We also worked with partner organisations to increase the number and range of people we could reach.

The sites, chosen for their diverse mix of nearby residents, were Alderman Canal; River Gipping; a piece of land on Triangle Estate; green space and access to countryside at Whitton; Stoke Park Wood; and a few key sites within Belstead Brook Park.

The project was originally funded 75% by the Access to Nature Grant, with 15% cash match funding from the Haven Gateway grant via Greenways, and 10% in-kind match funding through volunteer hours. It was successful in securing additional match funding, increasing the total project cost and thereby reducing the Access to Nature percentage contribution to 64% Introduction (same actual cash amount). The volunteer hours come from a combination of CSV and Greenways volunteers contributing to core services, and project volunteers supporting project delivery. As a result of the increased match funding, the project was able to employ two additional parttime staff in 2012 to help deliver the fun and educational activities, and to coordinate the ever increasing number of project volunteers.

The project aimed to contribute to all Five Access to Nature Outcomes through its combination of engagement activities, learning and training activities, and site improvement works.

The project was highly successful, meeting all of its Outcome SMART Targets and in most cases exceeding them. However, it had a number of challenges and there are many lessons that can be learned from our experience.