Making the Most of the Coast

Making the Most of the Coast

Name of organisation/business: 
Solway Firth Partnership
Funding: 
Dumfries & Galloway LEADER: £89,598 and funding from Dumfries and Galloway Council, The Crown Estate, The Robertson Trust, Solway Firth Partnership and in kind from volunteers
Scottish Rural Development Programme priority: 
Supporting rural communities
 

Location

Dumfries and Galloway coastline
        
Contact details: 
Clair McFarlan (Previous manager Pam Taylor secured funding for and managed the project 01387 702161 clair@solwayfirthpartnership.co.uk Previous manager Pam Taylor secured funding for and managed the project

Case study: Making the Most of the Coast from ScottishRuralNetwork on Vimeo.

What are the aims of your project?

The project aimed to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to actively care for, and become engaged with, the high quality of the Dumfries and Galloway coastline and promote initiatives which take good care of our precious resource. Making the Most of the Coast was an initiative which successfully worked with others to make the best use of available resources along over 200 miles of coastline.

How did your project achieve these aims?

  • Employed a Coastal Ranger and an Administrative Assistant
  • Provided a local focus to national initiatives using the coast as an amazing resource for outdoor and creative learning
  • Helped coordinate beach clean activities to tackle the environmental issue of marine litter
  • Brought together young people from across Europe to raise awareness of coastal issues
  • Championed events which maximised social engagement and sustainable use of the coast
  • Provided support for volunteer groups involved in the management of coastal paths and habitats
  • Used social media through the Solway Firth Partnership website and Facebook
  • Developed publications and exhibitions to celebrate the coast including beachcombers’ guides to seashells, seaside plants, strandline finds and Good Beach Guide

Who’s involved?

Making the Most of the Coast engaged with 28 education providers from nursery schools to post graduate research the coast providing an ideal laboratory. The project worked in partnership with 31 groups, organisations and businesses. It supported events promoting the sustainable use and enjoyment of the Solway Coast and engaged with over 2,500 people.

Where did you go for help and advice?

The success of the LEADER funded National Scenic Area Ranger project provided the inspiration for the Making the Most of the Coast project. The people involved in the earlier project provided advice on how to engage with communities through positive partnership working and how best to make use of a coastal Ranger to promote the need to safeguard the Dumfries and Galloway coastline.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

The breadth of activity undertaken by a dedicated Coastal Ranger has been the greatest success. This has been achieved through partnership working and in particular working with national initiatives to focus on the Dumfries and Galloway coast. An archaeological project, Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project, a rocky coast ecological surveying project, Shore Thing, and beach cleans promoted by the Marine Conservation Society have all contributed to a range of activities which have been developed by the Making the Most of the Coast project.

Perhaps the greatest achievement has been the involvement of a wide range of people surveying and improving coastal habitats. For example, volunteers have undertaken habitat improvements at the breeding sites of nationally important species including natterjack toad and the northern brown argus butterfly.

And the biggest challenge?

The greatest challenge was to make a positive change along the great length, over 200 miles (320 km), and diversity of the Dumfries and Galloway coastline. Not only was it a challenge to engage with a variety of people living along the whole length of the coast but also to develop a range of activities and events which benefit the numerous habitat types and the unique wildlife this rich resource supports.

Any tips for those setting up a similar project?

Use the experience of people involved in similar projects to guide the development of your project. Have a flexible approach and seek out opportunities to work in partnership with other initiatives.

What’s next for your project?

The success of Making the Most of the Coast project has inspired further partnership working to explore the potential of our coast through environmental art projects, wildlife recording events, cross border learning journeys and further opportunities to become actively involved in enhancing our varied and scenic coastline.