University helps secure National Lottery funding for £5m investment into Nene Valley

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A five-year partnership to improve, develop, and celebrate the River Nene and its surrounds was launched this week, with the University of Northampton a key player in the scheme.

Half of Nenescape’s £5m comes from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, and the University has a key role in accounting and distributing the money amongst the other project partners.

Representing the University on the Nenescape board, Professor Jeff Ollerton said the University will help guide and shape all the partnership’s projects.

He said: “The University of Northampton is delighted to be an important partner in Nenescape as the vision statement for the project corresponds very well with the aims of our own Changemaker programme – namely to understand and promote the identity of the Nene Valley and explore how past industries and peoples have shaped the landscape.”

The 16 projects will provide improved access to the water, restore wetland and wildlife habitats, uncover and celebrate the area’s history, develop tourism, and help local people to develop their skills, he added.

In addition, staff from across the university are involved in some of the individual projects that make up Nenescape, including experts in ecology, history and English.

There will also be opportunities for University staff and students to volunteer.

Nenescape’s launch will be celebrated on 14 November with a performance by Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT), of a specially commissioned piece of music called ‘Nene’, written by celebrated composer Benjamin Till.

The piece explores the landmarks, history and flow of the river from source to sea and will be performed by a 500-strong choir and 200-strong orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Music for Youth proms.

The River Nene is the tenth longest in the UK, and projects will operate along most of its length from its source near Weedon Bec to Peterborough in the east.

Other partners in the project include the River Nene Regional Park, the Wildlife Trust (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire), Natural England, East Northamptonshire Council, and the Environment Agency.

Find out more about Nenescape

Image: Sunset over Ringstead/Carole Harvey

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