A range of partnership support has led to a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £95,000 for the ‘Our Finest Dour’ project, which includes proposals to:
- Convert the disused Buckland toilet block into a permanent river centre to facilitate activities and provide information
- Deliver a programme of different training opportunities for volunteers
- Establish and train a core group of around 10-15 volunteer river rangers
- Carry out restoration work to improve habitats and clear invasive weeds
- Set up a ‘livestream’ showing the wildlife in the river
- Deliver a series of education workshops with local schools and colleges
- Host a series of engagement events including a River Dour Festival
- Establish an action plan to provide long term management alongside partners
As well as the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, funding has also been secured from partners at Dover District Council, the Environment Agency, Dover Town Council, Dover Big Local, Southern Water, and Affinity Water.
The project follows work by the Up on the Downs Landscape Partnership Legacy Group. The HLF grant has been awarded to Dover District Council and the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, who applied for the funding. The project will be delivered with a range of key partners, including the River Dour Partnership and South East Rivers Trust.
Running alongside this work, planning permission has been granted to convert the Buckland toilet block into a new riverside education and volunteering hub.
Cllr Trevor Bartlett, DDC Cabinet Member for Property Maintenance and Environmental Health, said: "We’re delighted that the HLF has agreed to support this exciting project. The River Dour forms an important green artery flowing through the town. Supporting a wide range of flora and fauna, it is internationally significant as a rare chalk stream habitat.
"Thank you to all the people who play the National Lottery and help fund projects like this. We look forward to working with all our partners to deliver this exciting project, which aims to help more people understand and appreciate ‘our finest Dour’."
For more information or if you’re interested in being a river ranger, or volunteering as part of the project, email firstname.lastname@example.org