Riverwoods Investment Readiness Pioneers project

Riverwoods is a Scotland-wide initiative to create a network of thriving riverbank woodlands and healthy river systems across Scotland. 

The Riverwoods ‘Investment Readiness’ Pioneers project is an opportunity for communities, landowners and other stakeholders to work together to identify proposals for Riverwoods projects, which could be financed using new mechanisms beyond traditional grants.

Set in two phases, people are invited to develop ideas and proposals that support nature restoration, with a particular emphasis on community engagement and collaboration.

Community engagement support for this part of the Riverwoods initiative is a partnership between Scottish Wildlife Trust and us at Democratic Society, funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

How can financing of conservation efforts be based on good governance principles?

Public interest and conservation are rooted into the project planning. In line with our Theory of Change, we are especially interested to explore how we can improve the quality of participation, so that communities and landowners work together as real agents of change rather than as participants in a process.

Our challenge is to design for collaboration that shares power and knowledge between what may be disparate groups. Landowners teaming up with their local schools or care homes for instance.

We want the full Riverwoods journey - from early proposals all the way through to new, innovatively financed nature-based projects - to support real power to citizens and the communities they live in. Alongside this, to provoke traditional funding sources to be more porous to change and new possibilities.

What’s different?

Riverwoods is about discovery, innovation and trying something new. It brings different partners and stakeholders together to share ideas for river-related projects which tackle environmental, social and economic challenges.  At the heart of the project are the general public and communities, bringing local knowledge and ideas to new partnerships with land managers, businesses and policy makers. 

The focus is on proposals which will attract investment. So less about doing at this stage, and more about thinking and shaping future ideas which will need funding. Proposals that get funded will improve the landscape, and benefit the communities who live there. 

These benefits will be driven by local need and could include:

  • Cleaner water, reduced soil erosion and pollution
  • More trees to counteract drought
  • Flood defense
  • Nature conservation
  • Access to nature and impact on health and wellbeing
  • Arable and livestock farming benefits

These proposals will be ready for community shortlisting across the whole of November 2022.  Millions of people across Scotland are invited to review the proposals, ask questions, make suggestions and vote for their top ideas. 

If you live in Scotland, you can now have your say about future nature restoration in Scotland. Make your views known as part of the Community Shortlisting Process – your voice counts! https://riverwoodspioneers.communitychoices.scot/

© Guy Edwardes 2020VISION
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