Last week we held an informative and interesting meeting with the most involved members of the partnership, our ‘Working Group‘.

The meeting started off with introductions, as we had some new faces in the group. We had representatives from a wide range of organisations, including the Environment Agency, Natural England, South Devon AONB, Westcountry Rivers Trust, the Bioregional Learning Centre, Devon & Severn IFCA, Plymouth University, Teignbridge District Council, Torbay Council, Dartmoor National Park Authority and the Marine Biological Association.

We heard the latest news from the partnership, and had a rundown of the partnership’s completed and ongoing projects.

Then the Bioregional Learning Centre gave an interesting and inspiring talk about their ethos, project ideas and drive to help re-energise the partnership! The Bioregional Learning Centre is a Community Interest Company based in Totnes. Since the last meeting of the Working Group the Bioregional Learning Centre has established itself in South Devon to offer collaborative working in the areas of community involvement in catchment working, sustainable livelihoods and whole systems change towards resilience.

This led into a lively discussion of what each of us see as a future for the partnership – what issues we need to focus on, which areas might need prioritising and what our long term goals might be. Suggestions included:

  • Working more closely with farmers, landowners and communities
  • Empowering citizens to become eyes and ears for the rivers, estuaries and coast – noticing, discussing and reporting changes, both positive and negative
  • Increasing awareness of where our household water comes from, and where it goes once its gone down the drain
  • Engaging with businesses and local people on biosecurity issues
  • Talking about rivers and water in a way everyone can understand
  • Cleaning up urban rivers
  • Increasing awareness of local food and where it comes from
  • Being clever about not overlapping in our work and not replicating efforts
  • Reconnect people with the natural assets around us
  • Making the economic benefits we all gain from Devon’s landscape more visible, as a way of preventing degradation of environment

What do you think of these ideas? And how do you think we can best make them a reality?

If you have ideas for what we should be working towards, then add your ideas to our vision for South Devon. Or if you have ideas for projects, why not add them to our interactive map?

Thanks to everyone who came to the meeting and gave their time, energy and ideas!

Download notes from the meeting and the meeting slides.