October 20, 2023

£1m fund launched by the Reece Foundation to kickstart The Ouse Burn Way in Newcastle

£1m fund launched by Reece Foundation to kickstart The Ouse Burn Way in Newcastle

The creation of a recreational corridor through Newcastle and North Tyneside to improve the lives of residents is the aim of the £1m fund launched by the Reece Foundation.

This new green initiative, The Ouse Burn Way, will stretch from the River Tyne at Ouseburn to Weetslade Country Park and the Letch in Longbenton, possibly extending into Newcastle Great Park.

The seven-mile trail will connect communities with nature, bringing long-term benefits to those living and working nearby, their water quality, well-being, as well as wildlife.

The ambition is to make the Ouse Burn a national exemplar of how the pollution of similar degraded urban rivers across the country can be mitigated.

Anne Reece, Chair, The Reece Foundation said:

“The Reece Foundation is very pleased to provide substantial funds to kick start this project. This will hopefully enable partner organisations to leverage the additional funds required to bring this project to fruition. This will improve the lives of so many residents, enhance nature and enable us to make the most of this unique and wonderful part of the region.

“As an independent charitable foundation, we support projects that enable the long-term and sustainable prosperity of the North East. We also recognise the crucial role that access to nature and the protection of wild places have on the well-being of the region.

“We are in the middle of a nature crisis and significant climate change. The Ouse Burn Way project has the potential to be a major recreational resource by improving the current degradation within the environment whilst also enhancing biodiversity right into the inner city and providing an area of carbon capture and natural cooling for the city. It also ensures a green, attractive and accessible corridor is established.

“A clean water strategy will be a key part of the project and will enable nature and wildlife to thrive. The improved safe and sustainable active travel links along the corridor will open access to many people who live in that area and elsewhere on Tyneside. We also expect it to attract more visitors to the area to enjoy the green spaces, the cycleways and safe footpaths, and the unique heritage in the Valley.”

The Reece Foundation has already funded research undertaken by Newcastle University to analyse the water quality of the Ouseburn because of concerns that the reduction in water quality and specifically pollution from human sewage was having a very detrimental effect on the Ouseburn valley as a healthy green space for people and wildlife. New scientific discoveries and methods are being developed, including at Newcastle University could help overcome the challenges.

The Reece Foundation is now making £1 million available to organisations to support key projects and leverage the additional funding required to advance the Ouse Burn Way project.

The Reece Foundation is working with partners including Northumbrian Water, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council and the Environment Agency. They are all working closely with local communities on the project’s evolution to listen to the many voices who value the Ouseburn Valley.

An exhibition highlighting the project’s potential is open for viewing at The Farrell Centre, Eldon Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RD until February 9, 2024 or view here online where you can find out more, share your thoughts about the project and pledge your support.

Download our Vision Document

Our in-depth brochure outlines all of our proposed plans and aims to:

  • Define the potential of the Ouse Burn and the Letch as a major recreational resource of benefit to the residents of Tyne and Wear
  • Seek the support of all those bodies with an interest in the area to agree a comprehensive strategy that meets local and national objectives and secures the long term development and maintenance of the corridor
  • Work closely with local communities in the evolution of the project

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