Eden Project joins forces with wildlife trust to help combat isolation across Morecambe Bay

Bosses working hard to bring the Eden Project to Morecambe have branched out on a new Bay-wide initiative to help cut loneliness levels heightened by the Covid pandemic.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 2:10 pm
The Eden Project North scheme is expected to go before the city council in January 2022.

An online community meeting held today, Friday October 15, heard that Eden are working alongside other bodies such as Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, North West Living Seas and Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

Thanks to £880,000 in Postcode Lottery funding, the two-year project aims to connect people within their communities, and reduce loneliness and isolation while teaching people about the are in which they live.

Gabi Gilkes from Eden said it is hoped the new scheme - called The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery - will bring people together across the region.

Eden are now working on a new collaboration to help reduce loneliness across the bay.

Emily Baxter from North West Living Seas said the project will build on exisiting expertise to provide an educational experience which will benefit the people of the Bay area.

The project will have three central hubs in Morecambe, Barrow and Fleetwood.

Research has found that high levels of loneliness are often found within alongside areas of high deprivation and mental health issues.

"We found a need for the population to recover from the pandemic in terms of loneliness and isolation," Emma said. "The project will provide specialist targeted help for those in need as well as fund community activities and aim to reach the whole population to encourage engagement with nature.

It is hoped the Eden Project North plans will be approved early next year.

"Morecambe Bay is the perfect place for this, it has a fantastic community spirit and an amazing natural area.

"The project is for two years but will hopefully provide a long-lasting legacy."

The initiative - which will also work with the newly devised Morecambe Bay Curriculum to support children and families - will have a permanent home within Eden Project North in Morecambe from 2024, provided the development is given the go-ahead.

Meanwhile, Eden bosses said the planning application for the Morecambe development is now likely to be heard at a city council meeting in January 2022, rather than just before this Christmas as originally hoped.

Eden Project North architect Tim Narey said the team was currently working with statutory consultees to address any issues.

"It's quite a complicated application and everyone is working very hard. This [delay] shouldn't be taken as too much of a disappointment, it's because of the volume of work we have to go through.

"This is quite normal for a large application to need more time, but we are pretty confident we will get our meeting and consent in January."