Celebrating countryside living

WILDLIFE Dani Siddall releasing a Water Vole
WILDLIFE Dani Siddall releasing a Water Vole
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Projects which protect Hampshire’s natural beauty have been nominated for Campaign to Protect Rural England Awards

Local projects have been shortlisted for an award to celebrate their contribution to a sustainable and diverse living countryside in Hampshire.

Judging of the finalists for the 2015 Campaign to Protect Rural England (Hampshire) Countryside Awards has now finished in all four of its categories: community and voluntary, young people, rural enterprise and green buildings.

Purbrook Park School Secondary School’s Community Vegetable Garden project in Waterlooville has been shortlisted in the young people category, for its innovative and unique way of engaging disadvantaged pupils and demonstrating partnership working and community cohesion.

The project links real life scenarios and learning to give young people a greater understanding of how important these skills are in everyday life.

In the rural enterprise category, sponsored by Dutton Gregory Solicitors, is the Fox and Hounds Community Co-operative in Denmead.

Villagers raised nearly half a million pounds to save their 140-year-old pub from demolition.

The co-operative was awarded a £50,000 grant from Solent Local Enterprise Partnership for their initiative to save and re-open their pub and create local employment.

There are two entries in the community and voluntary category.

The Billy’s Lake Project at Wecock Farm, Waterlooville, has restored a neglected piece of land to reveal a hidden gem and connected people to the countryside.

The Staunton Stars, based at Staunton Country Park, in Havant is organised by Solent Youth Action, Eastleigh.

The Stars are a volunteer scheme for 16 – 60 year olds living in Havant who have additional support needs, mental health issues or are disengaged.

In partnership with Staunton Country Park, these volunteers support the staff on a weekly basis by caring for the animals, gardening, completing grounds work and any other tasks to keep the park and gardens clean, safe and enjoyable.

This year has seen a record number of entries for the competition.

Category winners will be announced at an awards ceremony attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, on Friday September 25 at Itchen Abbas and Avington Village Hall.

The CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards were established in 2007 to recognise projects which enhance the environment.