top of page

Ouse Valley communities including Peacehaven and Newhaven win £2m funding to tackle climate change

The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded more than £2m to the Ouse Valley Climate Action (OVCA) to empower local people to help create one of the first communities in England to fully embrace climate action. The project area covers Peacehaven, Newhaven and Seaford to the south and Lewes through to Barcombe – which is aiming to be the UK’s first net-zero village – up stream.

The river valley is a fragile landscape that has already felt the effects of climate change this millennium, including flooding, storm damage, coastal erosion and biodiversity loss.

The funding will focus on three key areas: nature recovery and climate resilience; people’s knowledge and skills; and, finally, greener energy and travel.

Among the aims of the project are to:

  • Capture more carbon with natural solutions, such as tree planting and creating new wildlife habitats.

  • Make space for water in the Ouse catchment, such as creating water habitats, to reduce flood risk and increase resilience to drought.

  • Support more community green spaces and food-growing areas.

  • Empower and educate residents about climate action and sustainable living through inspiring events, engagement and training sessions.

  • Encourage behaviour change to help the environment.

  • Develop new local Community Energy Groups and community-owned renewable energy projects.

  • Events and engagement around improving household energy efficiency.

  • Support new greener travel initiatives around walking, cycling and e-bikes.

Keith Blackburn, from The Community Partnership, said: “Volunteers will lead in planting more trees and renaturing grass verges and local green spaces. A climate change educational beach garden will be created by volunteers (including students) who will transform an un-made-up road and an adjacent field into the garden.

"Long-term plans will be progressed to enlarge the Ouse Valley Nature Reserve adjacent to Newhaven’s industrial areas. Cycling will be safer and easier and more cars left at home. As well as directly increasing biodiversity, the funding will act as a catalyst for community action and increase awareness on what can be done to minimise its impact.”

Penny Shimmin, Chief Executive for Sussex Community Development Association, said: “SCDA look forward to working in partnership to deliver Ouse Valley Climate Action. The appetite for community action has been clearly evidenced. SCDA will deliver our specialist skills in engaging and empowering local people across all sections of the community, building their skills and knowledge to address the impacts of climate change on their lives. This three-year funding will support the building of sustained community initiatives to address climate change.’’

The next steps will be creating a dedicated team to deliver the project locally, working with schools, businesses and community groups.

The project partners are: South Downs National Park Authority; South Downs National Park Trust, Lewes District Council, OVESCO, Community Energy South, Sussex Community Development Association, 3VA, Railway Land Wildlife Trust, Transition Town Lewes and Seaford Community Partnership.

For more information visit the project website.


bottom of page