Skip to content Skip to navigation

Theme 2: Participation, Training & Skills

CVLLP is a programme of interlinked projects that sit within the following themes:

Participation, Training and Skills projects

Increase community participation in the local heritage of the Churnet Valley


Participation project

Two part-time Community Officers to work with villages and urban communities to help celebrate their heritage, research it, establish events and make improvements to their local built and natural heritage, together with the £200,000 delegated grant scheme. These Officers will also manage the Community Events Budget

Grant Scheme

A Delegated Grant Scheme administered by Participation Officers from SMCVS

Farm Advisor

1 part-time post supported by SRH to advise landowners, support other advisors and run special land based courses

‘Food on the Go’

A programme of activities and events to connect food producers to markets.

Farm apprenticeship


Delivery of a land based apprenticeship for 12 full-time apprenticeships

Youth Engagement project

Youth Development Officer to get young people involved with various aspects of the CVLLP, includes a £50,000 budget

Accredited training package

Develop the accredited training programme during 2012 and deliver it for three years to 2016. Includes a part-time Education Officer

Which audiences we will be targeted through CVLLP?

Our Living Landscape Partnership is committed to a project that is about the people who live in, work in and visit the Churnet Valley. In order to involve them as fully as possible our Participation Programme is comprehensive and will work across all areas of the CVLLP Programme. Whilst we do not wish to be exclusive in our work to involve people in our project by age or location, it has been necessary to identify groups within the overall community and target actions toward these.

The rural communities of the Churnet Valley

Within our partnership the existing knowledge of interest groups volunteer organisations, village action teams etc, has already identified the need to involve the existing adult community or interest groups within the Churnet Valley. Our Public Consultation events fully reinforced this with the majority of participants being able to identify themselves as having a relationship with an existing group; from Angling Clubs to Parish Councils, within the community. This is something we do not plan to conflict with by creating new groups but we will work with the existing organisations and groups across the valley to continue to efficiently involve the community in the Landscape Partnership. Two Participation Officers will work from our Partner SMCVS to link, coordinate adult participation, while working together, and with others within the programme:

  • one will concentrate on facilitating the involvement of individuals and groups in existing heritage projects and the work of CVLLP
  • the other will concentrate on supporting local groups in applying for the delegated grant scheme and delivering events and activities that result

The agricultural sector in the valley, local leisure businesses and the visitor

Most of the organisations that comprise our Partnership Board have worked directly with the landowners and agricultural sector of the Churnet Valley. However, our earlier Local Food Research project and our development phase Training Needs Analysis has still identified an element of disconnection between the agricultural sector and the rest of the community of the Churnet Valley. In many cases our partners have been highly successful in engaging the agricultural sector, but our project will make an extraordinary effort to build upon this:

  • The Staffordshire Rural Hub (SRH) will engage a Farm Advisor from within the agricultural sector, and hopefully from within the valley to visit and involve the sector

The SRH will work across the partnership to involve landowners and managers of the valley in the project and to undertake short training programmes where required. They will also undertake a specific project

  • ‘Food on the Go’, designed to link the farmer with local business and through business with the visitor and is a key part of the rural economy

Youth within the Valley, and the two Market Towns of Leek, Cheadle and beyond

CVLLP recognises that appropriate, positive engagement with young people living within or near to the project area, combined with a package of training and skills development, has the potential to increase the chances of young people staying and working in the area, the Wildlife Trust was contracted to undertake a youth engagement research project in order to build upon the their current understanding of youth issues in the valley. From this report a Youth Engagement Project has been agreed to work specifically with young people of the valley and neighbouring market towns to involve them within the CVLLP programme.

Although not a direct objective of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership, our practical work in access and heritage along the Caldon Canal will offer volunteer and training opportunities to young people from further afield.

How more people can get involved in the conservation, management and maintenance of particular heritage sites and assets

Targeting participation as a key element of meeting the objectives of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership only works where people who have been engaged can be directed to worthwhile projects.

What opportunities are there for volunteering?

The CVLLP includes the most significant suppliers and facilitators of volunteering within the Living Landscape, partners such as the North Staffordshire Railway Company, Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, RSPB and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust have many members, standing groups, supporters and activities for volunteers in the valley; other organisation such as the National Trust and Cheddleton Flint Mill have a lesser presence within the valley but are well represented upon the Steering Groups. We will be working together to build upon this volunteer base in order to generate the resources needed to facilitate even greater levels of volunteering. Volunteering directly to these partners is liable to be a significant element of the legacy opportunities for the community well into the future.

Additional projects through the valley have been designed in order to maximise the potential for engaging new volunteers, with the Heritage Project “Bridge 70” and the Access Project “Canal Access” being two examples where large numbers of volunteers can participate on a single project.

How people can be involved in making decisions about the heritage

The Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) has actively sought out and encouraged the involvement of the community in the decision making process of the project. CVLLP has created four Steering Groups: Heritage, Access & Learning, Participation and Training & Skills. This not only allows the views of a wider range of the community to be considered within CVLLP but, as the Partnership Board also acts as a route for views to the represented organisations; the opinions and local knowledge of the community have a direct route to highly influential agencies. The Steering Groups currently have a membership/ attendeeship of well over 100 people, they will remain open to people to become involved at a decision making level throughout the CVLLP Delivery Phase and beyond.

Training in skills and traditional techniques to help maintain the landscape

From the outset of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP) idea, the Partnership has known that there was a skills gap in heritage management within the valley; at a professional level within the agricultural sector, within the interested community and particularly amongst the younger population, this was reinforced by the research of the Staffordshire Rural Hub and the Wildlife Trust. As a result and in order to counter this skills gap we will put in place an Accredited Training Package to City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Countryside Heritage Management.

This will be a modular training package tailored meet the needs of young people and adults who wish to gain employment enhancing qualifications through their participation in CVLLP. It will be modular in format; various modules will be open to the wider community wishing to take part in non-accredited skills. In addition it will act as the basis for the heritage element of the required training within the Heritage Farm Apprenticeships, managed by Staffordshire Rural Hub. This will have the specific intention of helping young people gain the skills needed to gain agricultural employment in an area where maintaining the landscapes heritage is integral to the well-being of the community.

Opportunities offered to learn about and understand heritage and the contribution it makes to the landscape

Our Participation and Training & Skills theme involves gaining the interest of the community, involving them in our project and providing training and skills opportunities to those who want it, the opportunities to learn about the heritage of the Churnet Valley and it’s place in the landscape is made available to a wider audience (including the estimated 700,000+ visitors per year) through our Access and Learning theme.