The cash will be splashed on improving our coastline thanks to a £5 million funding windfall.
The money will fund Seascape, which will deliver 30 seaside projects stretching from South Shields to Teesmouth during the next six years.
The cash, which includes a £2.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), will see a host of organisations come together to protect and improve access to the coast’s shoreline and cliffs.
Another aspect will take place up to six miles out at sea, recording and surveying historic wrecks, creating ‘snorkel safaris’ and producing a virtual reality wreck diving experience.
It will also ensure that the coastline’s heritage will be better recorded, managed and protected, and that communities are more involved with the coast on their doorstep.
The programme is one to benefit from a £20 million investment from the National Lottery-backed funds.
Seascape will be the HLF’s first marine-based Landscape Partnership and aims to conserve the Magnesian Limestone seascape and get coastal communities, particularly younger people, interested in caring for the stretch of coastline.
Plans include the construction of an educational facility with activity space for 120 pupils, putting in place a two-year trainee programme for eight individuals in natural, built and cultural heritage skills, and reintroducing the small blue butterfly.
Seascape will bring together the Heritage Coast of Sunderland, Durham and Hartlepool, the council areas of South Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham and Hartlepool, the National Trust, Northumbrian Water, Durham Wildlife Trust, Natural England, North East Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, Groundwork, the Marine Management Organisation, and the Environment Agency; and also includes East Durham Heritage Group, Donnison School and Durham and Newcastle Universities.
Drew Bennellick, the HLF’s head of landscape and natural heritage, said: “Across the UK people are increasingly realising that nature is in trouble and it’s time to take a more proactive approach. “Schemes like these provide a creative solution to helping people reconnect with landscapes and the environment, to implement solutions at a truly landscape-scale and tackle issues such as soil loss and flooding by supporting partnerships and coalitions of the willing.”
Across the UK people are increasingly realising that nature is in trouble and it’s time to take a more proactive approach.Drew Bennellick