Horam facility receives grant for pathway

18th September

The local community and wildlife will benefit after the GAP – Get Active Pathway at Horam Recreation Ground – received grants from The Veolia Environmental Trust, Horam Parish Council, Biffa Award, Pro Eco and Lodge Group Care UK Ltd.

Local MP Nus Ghani comes along to support the start of the pathway construction
Left to Right: Brian Arnott, HVH trustee; Andy Billings, Horam Parish Councillor; MP Nusrat Ghani; Paul Rippingale, Southern Landscapes & Construction; Cornelie Usborne, Wealden District Councillor and Horam Parish Councillor Steve Fisher and HVH trustee.

The project will aim to address health issues by increasing physical activity opportunities, free of charge, all year round, for residents. The improvements will address isolation by providing a social arena in which to make friends, socialise, and improve mental well-being. It will increase community cohesion, through enabling more people from a range of backgrounds and ages, to have a reason to access the ground, and more people make the ground safer, more visible – and, we hope, fun!
For the community, having a facility which can offer so much leisure activity, such as cycling, scooting, walking, and enjoying nature, for free, while also offering a healthy activity is a very good thing. Opportunities for people from all backgrounds to see and meet each other will give a feeling of ‘community’, and a ‘safe space’. The pathway will attract many who simply could not use the space before due to mobility issues, or for cycling or buggies, and this means they can exercise and enjoy nature.

Horam Village Hall and Recreation Ground charity has received grants from The Veolia Environmental Trust, Horam Parish Council and Biffa Award; a multi-million-pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Government’s Landfill Communities Fund. They are grateful for the remainder of the project funding from Pro Eco and Lodge Group Care UK Ltd.

The idea of a pathway was first highlighted by a local resident in a survey carried out by the Trustees of Horam Village Hall to find out what local people wanted from their recreation ground. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to secure funding and design an environmentally friendly pathway and create nature areas and enhance the biodiversity.
Steve Fisher, Project Leader, and Trustee of Horam Village Hall said “This is a fantastic project to make the recreation grounds accessible to all residents in our community. In carrying out the works during the summer months we are minimising disturbance to the ground and the path will be complete before the autumnal weather sets in.”
Lisa Stevens, Trustee and Biodiversity lead on the project said “The pathway project has given us an opportunity to rethink the recreational ground, providing more space for a bigger variety of wildlife. On the route around the pathway residents will see trees and hedgerows and we now have an area we are managing as a traditional wildflower meadow, a habitat that has declined drastically over the last 50 years. We have already seen an increase in the numbers of butterflies and other insects on the site. The local community have helped with the project planting a native hedge and raking up the meadow cuttings to promote wildflowers. We hope to plant more trees once the pathway is in place.

Local resident Christine Walker said “I think the path is fantastic, it will enable people to use the recreation ground all year round, walking and cycling and when it’s really wet and waterlogged it will be usable. I am really pleased that it’s come to fruition for everyone in the area to use, I would just like to thank everyone who was involved.”

MP Nusrat Ghani said: “I’m pleased that the project has finally reached its construction stage and it was great to return to Horam to see the progress. Health, leisure and sport facilities play a key role in building resilience and wellbeing in our communities and this new pathway will be a great enhancement of the recreational facilities available in Wealden. Similar projects in other areas in East Sussex including Hailsham have proven to be of great benefit to walkers, runners and mobility scooter users who struggle with the uneven and often muddy terrain of our countryside paths, and I am looking forward to joining Horam residents in celebrating the completion of the project in the autumn.”
Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager said: “Biffa Award is delighted to be able to support the GAP at Horam Recreation Ground with the installation of an eco-friendly circular walk. Projects like this one that aim to improve accessibility are absolutely vital especially when ensuring that all of the community are able to benefit from time spent outdoors.”
There will be a grand opening of the project at 12.30pm on Saturday 7th October with a special guest and activities.