Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Launch of Breaking New Ground

Communities, schools and the landscape of the Brecks will be benefitting from a series of new and exciting landscape and heritage conservation projects thanks to a £1.5million grant from the Heritage Lottery.

Following the second-round application for HLF Landscape Partnership funding submitted in November 2013, Suffolk County Council and the Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership Board are delighted to announce that the HLF has confirmed the award of £1,460,000 towards a £2.2m scheme to deliver a host of exciting projects in a core area of the Brecks. The remaining funding will be a mixture of contributions from local authorities, project partners and volunteer input.

Lisa Chambers, BNG Chairman and Deputy Leader of Suffolk County Council said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this Lottery funding for the Breaking New Ground Scheme and are very much looking forward to working with our partners and communities in the Brecks."As a result of this award, the partnership will be able to carry out a great number of exciting projects for the benefit of Brecks landscape, heritage and communities. These will include the creation of a conservation volunteer centre, walking and cycling trails, heritage interpretation that tells the story of the Brecks and new training opportunities. This is excellent news for the Brecks and Suffolk as a whole.”

Among the 37 individual projects in the BNG scheme will be the restoration of the Pump House at Brandon Country Park by West Suffolk College Students, and its development as a volunteer centre for the Brecks. Norfolk and Suffolk Wildlife Trusts will be working with schools to promote the importance of the Brecks habitats and skills to manage these habitats for the future. The Breckland Society and the UEA will be carrying out extensive new research and landscape heritage interpretation projects and there will be extensive new access opportunities created that will allow more people to enjoy this fascinating area. The scheme will also create new skills training opportunities in landscape and built heritage conservation as well as running arts courses and some fun community celebration events.

The scheme will be delivered over the next three years enabling engagement with local communities and partners in telling the story of the Brecks and to develop a sense of pride and belonging to this fascinating landscape that will translate into a long lasting legacy of engagement.

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, East of England, said: "We are delighted to be supporting this project. The Brecks is a unique landscape and our funding will ensure that a much wider range of people will benefit from the natural heritage around them. In addition, heritage sites such as Brandon Engine House and several pingos will be restored for future generations to enjoy."

Breaking New Ground will be hosted by Suffolk County Council at Brandon Country Park which is in the heart of the area and provides a convenient and accessible location for participants and partners, and is the location for a number of public participation events.

Cllr Richard Smith, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Environment and Planning said: "Suffolk County Council is delighted to receive this important Heritage Lottery Grant, which is the biggest of its kind in the county to date, and looks forward to playing the leading role in delivering many exciting new landscape heritage and community projects in the Brecks area."

The Scheme outputs will concentrate on a 253km squared area within the Brecks, including Brandon and Thetford, with the aim of delivering real understanding and changes on the ground. This area encompasses a unique landscape in Britain with an incredible and much overlooked heritage and biodiversity. It has been selected to be a representative core of the whole Brecks area and contains the three main landscape character types of the Brecks, the two main population centres, and the greatest concentration of heritage assets.

The main priorities of the Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership are connecting communities with the landscape through the conservation and restoration of the natural and built heritage features that make the Brecks landscape so distinctive. To achieve this, Breaking New Ground will undertake practical conservation and restoration works and engage with, train and inform local communities to reconnect people with the landscape through access, learning and a celebration of the landscape. This will provide opportunities to ensure that the knowledge and skills are embedded within communities for the long-term care of the landscape along with an increased sense of ownership and responsibility. The new working partnerships, enthusiasm and momentum generated by the scheme will provide a legacy for the scheme and ensure that the benefits will continue to be enjoyed into the future.

Breaking New Ground has representation from across a wide range of local authorities, national and local organisations as well as other important stakeholders in the Brecks. The members contribute a wealth of expertise and experience; the Chairman, Lisa chambers, is Deputy Leader of Suffolk County Council and the Deputy Chairman, James Parry, is also Chairman of the Breckland Society. All board members hold senior positions in their respective organisations and are thereby able to ensure the long-term support and engagement in the successful delivery of the scheme.