Our vision is that Queenswood (and Bodenham Lake) become demonstration sites for a sustainable Herefordshire: a vibrant, healthy, naturally flourishing and resilient place, providing a resource for improving peoples’ wellbeing.
Our intention is to showcase how the natural world, sustainable development and human wellbeing are inter-related, worthwhile objectives. We do this by raising public awareness of sustainable development and wildlife conservation.
The Sustainable Future Centre (SFC) was launched at Queenswood in March 2020. The old Jubilee building has been eco-refurbished and now houses an exhibition of 23 wall mounted interpretation panels detailing information on global, national and local sustainability issues. It includes a 'focus on' section which has changing themes such as energy, climate change, waste, water, biodiversity, food and transport. We are ready to show films, are developing comprehensive, accessible written guides and will develop a reference library for those who want to delve deeper into issues. The feedback we received from public visitors on our first open day in mid March 2020 was very positive.
With the funding we will create exciting, interactive visual displays both in and outside the building. These resources will be available to all site visitors and we will buy tablets so that our volunteers can engage with visitors in practical ways (eg. using carbon footprint calculators) to support awareness raising, education and skills building.
Environmental issues are now part of the mainstream agenda. Climate change, plastic pollution, biodiversity loss and the impacts of flooding are things that we know people are concerned about in Herefordshire. However, they often don't know what they can do about it, the information can be overwhelming and confusing. We will translate complex issues using accessible, interactive methods and share learning from positive community action across the county to encourage people to take steps towards living more sustainably.
A public online survey demonstrated overwhelming support for the SFC at Queenswood with particular emphasis on providing information and practical advice. The survey received 140 replies in one weekend and the detailed feedback provided has informed our plans. We will continue to ask for input from the community and use this to co-create resources, workshops and activities, working with local people such as those in arts and environment groups.
The SFC is located at Queenswood Country Park, a much-loved venue in Herefordshire that receives over 250,000 visitors each year. The site is used by a large cross section of the population. Families come to use our playground and trails; walkers visit the woodland and arboretum and schools access our successful engagement programme. If just 2.5% of our overall visitors come to the SFC, we will reach over 6,000 people.