The River Starts Here!

Project Category: Registered charityProject Tags: Biodiversity, Children & young people and Education

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    ‘The River Starts Here!’ is improving some of the most polluted headwater streams (brooks) in the catchment of the River Trent. These rise the in towns of the former Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire coalfields.  Here they gather pollution from towns, industrial estates, former mines and trunk roads. They have often been put into pipes or straightened channels when the land was mined and left that way. The pollution and destruction of habitat makes the brooks much poorer for recreation and wildlife, and affects the rivers downstream. These towns and villages have become run down in parts, and rates of unemployment are relatively high. Often people don’t know the brooks are there, or don’t think of them as ‘proper’ streams at all.

    Healthier brooks could be valuable for the wellbeing of local people. ‘The River Starts Here’ galvanises a sense of pride and discovery about their local brooks together with a determination to improve them. By working in the headwaters  we aim to improve the brooks here and reduce pollution levels as the rivers flow through cities like Derby and Nottingham.

    The River Starts Here! Builds on an existing project in a smaller area and comprises:

    • Physical improvements, from significant schemes to improve water quality, habitat and blue-green infrastructure to small-scale volunteer work which cumulatively will make a difference.
    • Citizen Science through RiverLife monitoring of bugs in the brooks and Outfall Safari to record all the pipes into the brooks and whether they are polluting. Worksheets and lesson plans for schools. A work placement.
    • Engagement: River-Friendly Business Awards to promote pollution prevention, an annual ‘yarn bomb’ event along the brooks called ‘Streams of Wool’ to attract people to explore their brooks, community events to share information, and learn about people’s perspectives, skills and knowledge.  Working with local groups (Rethink Mental Illness, Derbyshire Autism) and Derbyshire County Council NEET (not in education, employment or training)Young People to help them achieve their John Muir Awards.  Engaging through social media channels to reach people and talk about topics that might not naturally come together.
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    Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston England