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Review of the year 2021

6th December 2021

Empowerment and engagement have been the themes of the year.

Below we share some of the ways that we’ve been working with local campaigners, celebrating grass roots action and much more.

 

Living Countryside Awards

The Living Countryside Awards recognise community led projects and local initiatives, helping them to reach new audiences and giving a boost to their teams.

  • For the first time we worked with a local film maker to create videos telling the stories of the winning entrants, making them available via our new YouTube channel.
  • We introduced a Bedfordshire Choice Award – voted for by you! Over 3,000 votes were cast, with many of the entrants taking to social media to rally their supporters.

 

Local action groups and parish councils

Throughout the year our work raising awareness of local issues has empowered local communities to get involved. We’ve done this through our social media channels, briefing papers and website features.

  • We’ve worked closely with local action groups and parish councils to enable effective campaigning and the sharing of knowledge and practical advice. Examples include BFARe, No To Greenwoods New Town and Ridgmont Parish Council.
  • In 2022 we will be working on a toolkit for local action groups to help them get started.

 

Consultations and responses

We have shared our responses to consultations and planning applications to help others feel confident in making their own submissions. Major consultations in 2021 included:

 

Citizen science

Bedfordshire residents joined in with Star Count, a national CPRE campaign to monitor dark skies.

Dad and son looking at the night sky
Star Count runs every February

CPRE Conference

CPRE Bedfordshire Director, Lois Wright, joined an expert panel to share how the Living Countryside Awards evolved in response to the challenges of the pandemic – sharing our learnings with other local CPREs to help them develop their own awards programmes.

 

Blog

This year’s best of the countryside blog has focused on regeneration. We’ve explored a diverse range of topics from mental health to urban green spaces. Along the way we’ve highlighted community projects and shared ways to enjoy the countryside.

People working in a community garden
Edible High Town (highly commended, 2021 Living Countryside Awards) shared a blog post about urban regeneration

Growing the team

This year we have been expanding our team so that we have more capacity to help you

  • We have welcomed two new trustees, Juliet Ware (who has taken over from Chris Hall as our Treasurer) and Fred Motson.
  • We’ve welcomed new volunteers to diverse positions including working in our planning team, assisting with the Living Countryside Awards and looking after membership.
  • More new volunteer roles are in the pipeline and will be advertised in 2022.
Two people checking on newly planted trees
CPRE Bedfordshire volunteers enjoyed visiting the projects shortlisted in the Living Countryside Awards, including this new woodland in the Forest of Marston Vale

AGM & Talk

In October we welcomed Brian Kerr to talk about his latest book, How to Value a Skylark: The countryside in a Time of Change. His thought provoking presentation raised lots of questions about issues affecting the countryside, allowing listeners to think through the debates and come to their own conclusions.

 

We’ll keep standing up for the Bedfordshire countryside. Want to stand with us? Sign up now for monthly news on our work or join us as a member from just £3 a month.

 

Rural Revolution - highly commended in the 2021 Living Countryside Awards
Quernmore landscape