Across the UK, hundreds of community groups are all working towards a shared aim – to improve the health of the water environment. They differ in size, shape and structure but their work is essential and has contributed to countless river and stream improvements, as well as benefited the people and wildlife that rely on them.
Enhancing the ability of community groups to get involved with on the ground projects, as well as influencing decision-making, will mean that change is not only accelerated but will be longer lasting. We have produced some helpful ‘top tips’ to help catchment partnerships identify the opportunities to work with community groups to increase their capacity, influence and impact.
Inspire, excite and simplify: Catchment partnerships have a key guiding role to play as to the range of opportunities and barriers to delivery of work on the ground, whilst also ensuring that associated technical information is understandable by all. Once groups have easy access to information, they will be more empowered.
Train groups to become citizen scientists: Citizen science is a fast growing and exciting area. Catchment partnerships can train groups as citizen scientists and increase their ability to collect, monitor and interpret data.
Work together to identify and submit funding bids: Securing funding can be a real challenge. Catchment partnerships can help to overcome these barriers by working with community groups to submit joint bids.
Identify ‘change agents’: There are key individuals in the Environment Agency, water companies, farming community and businesses who are really important to work with to make an impact. Catchment partnerships are well placed to identify these individuals and help community groups approach them.
Collaboration is key: Partnership working has many benefits – increased capacity, sharing of expertise and skills and additional funding. Community groups will often look to work with larger NGOs to increase their influence, and catchment partnerships can support this.
Download the full guidance: Enhancing the impact of community groups