ACCP Kickstarter funding – Friends of River Worth Group

In January 2018 I applied for and gained £500 Startup Funding from ACCP to form a ‘Friends of River Worth Group’. Working with Nick Milsom (Catchment Champion for the Mid-Aire) we aim to raise the profile and status of the River Worth in the hearts and minds of local people, business owners and other key stakeholders.

With the funding we recieved from ACCP, I led three guided short walks in February, March, and April, along a heavily industrialised stretch of the river near to where I live. I talked to participants who attended about the diverse wildlife the river supports including a wild stock of brown trout and grayling, demonstrated Riverfly Monitoring (image below), and finished with a litter pick and an informal chat over coffee about the aims of our relatively newly established group.

At the end of May with another part of the startup funding I organised and facilitated a stakeholder event alongside Geoff Roberts (Catchment Host – Aire Rivers Trust) in Keighley to speak about challenges the River Worth faces while also highlighting the potential benefits the river offers. Key elements to realising those potential benefits include improving access to the river and the footpaths along its length, improving in-river habitat, and in the wake of the devastation of the Boxing Day floods, to have a key voice in the development natural flood management schemes sustainable.

A key outcome of this initial work demonstrated the need for continued repetition of similar educative and awareness raising events, not only in Keighley but also further up the catchment to gain interest from communities such as Haworth.