You’ve got the Whole Valley in your hands….
Well, what a summer it's been, the glorious blue skies and golden rays of sun showing off our spectacular scenery to its absolute best advantage. The sights and sounds and smells of a lovely Lake District summer are the reason over 16 million people choose to visit every year. And why so many choose to make this the place where they live and run their businesses.
But the very nature of our rural landscapes and tourism economy bring their own unique pressures which need careful, sensitive and inventive management to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect what's so special about the area whilst progressing the needs of local people and managing the expectations of visitors. It's a delicate balance.
So, whilst I was lazily dipping my toes in the silky waters of Ullswater the other day I was warmed not only by sun but by a sense of comfort from the realisation that, in this area, there is a whole lot of work going on and a whole host of people busily coming together, conferring, sharing, collaborating and co-operating to find ways to achieve the balance and progression the Ullswater Valley needs – for its people, its landscapes and its visitors. It's inspiring stuff.
In case you haven't heard, Ullswater is a pilot area for Whole Valley Planning. Valley planning involves setting out what people want to see happening in their area in the future. It's a geographical approach to partnership working that's based on community aspirations. By involving local people, visitors and businesses it provides a voice for people to say what they want to change, keep the same or improve in their area.
After some fabulously well attended meetings, lots of talking, questioning and sharing, lots of scribbling, head-scratching and drawing up of charts and tables we were delighted to find that two of the key priorities for the Ullswater valley are to 'Protecting what is unique to Ullswater' and 'Promotion of Visitor Giving through Nurture Lakeland'. Hurrah! We love the people of Ullswater.
So, we're getting cracking to help them achieve just that.
There are some fab businesses already giving their guests and customers the chance to make a small donation to help protect the local wildlife and landscape through our Visitor Giving scheme but - let's not be complacent – this is a call to action! We want more businesses to get involved. Let's make a real collective, community effort to bring more money into the Ullswater area to protect its unique, natural assets.
To help businesses get started with a bit of inspiration, a trip on the Ullswater steamers and a lovely, free lunch (yes, there is such a thing!) we're holding a Visitor Giving Workshop on Wednesday 25th September. See details below.