Anniversary reflections

It’s been a year since our public launch, putting on the River Festival in partnership with the Railway Land Wildlife Trust. We can’t believe how much we’ve learnt and achieved in this relatively short time.

We first came together in November 2021 after watching a film called Invisible Hand at Depot cinema. It was an inspiring documentary about communities who were standing up for their local waterway with such clarity and determination. We also observed the power and effectiveness local initiatives in the UK were starting to have on raising awareness, addressing the issues and creating community cohesion.

But where was the voice for the Ouse and why didn’t we have more of a unified sense of pride and appreciation of our precious river? Despite the many key agencies working to improve and enhance the Ouse, why is it in such a state? We felt we could help to upscale the profile of the river, give it a voice and get more people involved.

It is a privilege to connect with so many different kinds of people dedicated to rivers. We spend an enormous amount of time and headspace (that we struggle to find in our busy lives!) researching, plotting, observing and dreaming for the Ouse via Whatsapp, email, at events and in meetings. The to-do list is longer than the river and tributaries put together. Sometimes it feels like we’re swimming upstream against the flow without a paddle and sometimes we drift down gently with the damselflies.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Helen Meade, CEO at the Railway Land Wildlife Trust. She has been in our steering group from the start and gives invaluable input which is always practical, pragmatic, resourceful and laced with superb sense humour.

Thank you also reader for being part of our journey so far. We hope you’ll continue to love our Ouse.

Thank you for being the watery thread through our landscape that binds us, shapes us, provides life and joy to so many living beings. We wish you a healthy, abundant and thriving future.