Riverside Splash in Newhaven!

What a fantastic last River People Tour event ending our journey from source to sea in Newhaven on 25th May. It was great to put the Ouse and nearby coastline centre stage for the day and so wonderful to be right on the river itself! Brilliant stalls and activities, great atmosphere with the music and packed programme of interesting talks and debate.

Thank you to the approx 300 people who came throughout the day, the glorious sun , our amazing volunteer team and everyone who contributed to make it a memorable day.

Thank you to all the amazing groups who took part:
Ouse Valley Climate Action, Newhaven Gig Rowing Club, Cuckmere Valley Canoe Club, Environment Agency , Newhaven Museum, Greenhavens Network, South Downs National Park, Get Bikery, Sussex Community Development Association, Strandliners, Artists Ruth Lawrence, Caroline Hasler, Edgeland Modern, KP Projects CIC, Dockside Barrel Scrapers, Lewes Pilot Gig Club, Angler Stewart Allum and Just Get It Done catering.

Our talks programme covered local topics. The Safe to Swim? Discussion with presentations by Love our Ouse and Councillor Emily O’Brien discussed whether local ‘Excellent’ bathing status in Seaford is a true depiction of local water quality with valuable input from Southern Water and Surfers Against Sewage. We discussed options for potential community testing programmes and offered resources for local people to know how to report pollution and look up live data to enable them to decide if they feel it’s safe to swim on any given day. Audience members contributed their concerns, observations and what they would be interested in getting involved in.

Tim Bartlett, Coastal and Flood Risk Management Special Advisor at Lewes District and Eastbourne Borough Council gave an insightful talk about the Newhaven non-foul ‘sewer’ systems – the vast network of waterways across the town which have recently undertaken an extensive clearing programme.

Love our Ouse delivered it’s Rights of Rivers talk discussing the groundbreaking movement to give the river back its rights and invited local people to contribute their ideas to the developing Charter. The team also reflected on the River People Tour, contributing their thoughts and findings from engaging with this diverse, ever changing river and the wide variety of people who live with, love and share concern for the Ouse.

The River People Tour has been a series of four events travelling downstream from Balcombe, Barcombe, Lewes and Newhaven taking place between October 2023 – May 2024. The intention was to build a stronger network, foster a greater sense of connection with our local waterways and increase understanding and profile to address its threats and challenges. We are working on a report detailing the content and outputs of the tour which will help to build on our community knowledge and inform future activities. We will publish the report once it’s ready.

A HUGE thank you to Ouse Valley Climate Action and The National Lottery  Community Fund for supporting the Tour.