The project aim: change how communities perceive the undervalued Hogsmill River. Kingston University took ownership of the stretch of river by our Knights Park Campus to transform it with the help of local community members. We have managed to engage people through facilitating community involvement with a variety of diverse initiatives and external project partners by hosting and coordinating local projects.
One initiative was the transformation of a 120 metre stretch of the Hogsmill in 2014 with partners the South East Rivers Trust and different community groups from around Kingston (Kingston Biodiversity Network, University students, staff, local residents and volunteers from local charities).
Over 680 volunteer hours have been donated by community volunteers during the initial project and afterwards; creating, planting and maintaining a new embankment and river habitat. This stretch of river is now enjoyed by all in the community with continued opportunities for new groups to get involved.
1 Change is only achieved by involving everyone
2 Catchment wide community participation takes time to implement and takes time to nurture, but the investment is worth it
3 You need more than one initiative to get long term sustained involvement in environmental change at the local level. The more partnerships created between different organisations and community groups, the more opportunities there are for individuals to find events and like-minded people, the easier it is to keep them engaged and participating for longer.