Wild Coast Sussex – an exciting new project to connect coastal communities with their beautiful Sussex seas

More than half a million pounds worth of funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will allow Sussex Wildlife Trust to push ahead with its innovative Wild Coast Sussex Project.

It’s hoped that Wild Coast Sussex will inspire communities across Sussex to care for the marine environment and will give them the tools to be able to protect their local coastline and sea.

Wild Coast Sussex will target communities all along the Sussex coast with extra focus on Hastings, Bexhill, Eastbourne, Brighton, Worthing and Selsey.

Understanding threats and supporting conservation.

Sussex Wildlife Trust is the lead partner in the project with the Marine Conservation Society, Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and Brighton SEA LIFE.

Nikki Hills, Wild Coast Sussex Project Manager at Sussex Wildlife Trust says: “Our partnership champions the rare and precious marine wildlife found locally, highlighting the extraordinary underwater kelp forests, seahorses and rays once abundant in Sussex which could recover and thrive if local communities know about them, understand the threats and support their conservation.

“The project aims to inspire and connect people to the Sussex coast and sea and engage those people by direct action to protect it. It will enable learning and activities to encourage positive lifestyle choices and behaviour change which in turn will reduce negative impacts on the Sussex coast and sea by empowering people to share experience and influence others.

“We will work with primary schools, young people aged between 12 and 25 and commercial fishermen, as well as the wider community and general public and take them on a journey to make a positive difference to the crisis in the health of the sea.”

Stuart McLeod, Director London and South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Coronavirus and the resulting lockdown has demonstrated just how important our natural world is to so many. Protecting our natural heritage and improving people’s access and engagement with it is a key priority for National Lottery funding and we are delighted to support Wild Coast Sussex.”

Project activities will include a Wild Beach education programme for children, onsite and digital interpretation, a programme of citizen science surveys, fun new coastal activities and social events including beach cleans, a volunteer training programme, projects with young adults to develop local debate, action and opportunities for local marine conservation, and recycling of marine litter, including end of life fishing gear and ghost gear removed from the sea.

Visit Wild Coast Sussex to find out more.

Main photo is a Short-snouted Seahorse © Paul Naylor

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