Touching the Tide is a £1m four year Heritage Lottery funded Landscape Partnership Scheme along the Suffolk coast, led by the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB.

The Partnership is in the planning year and subject to approval Touching the Tide expects to start delivering on the ground from the spring of 2013

As consultants to the project Resources for Change and PJ.elements provided assistance in drawing up a Participation and Learning Plan and providing photographs of the people and coast for the new website. We have been out on the streets in places like Ipswich, Woodbridge and Leiston talking to people about how they use the coast and what they value about it.

We used Consultation Stalls stationed outside supermarkets to catch people’s attention and then asked them to indicate a preference for aspects of coastal heritage by sticking pins against pictures, maps and key phrases. We have found that there is considerable pride in the local heritage but people’s involvement up to now has been as passive visitors. However, there is an interest in more active involvement in things such as archaeological digs and beach cleans.

The Landscape Partnerships programme is a grant scheme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is the most significant grant scheme available across the UK for landscape scale projects which focus on areas with a distinctive landscape character. Where awarded funding will usually fund a project officer and a portfolio of smaller projects which together will combine to provide social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits. A new round of applications will be opening from February 2013.

Photo: The lone ‘tree in the sea’ at Covehithe. The tree stood the test of time for many years but now has succumbed to the tide. Recently walking back from the beach and out of sight of the tree I casually mentioned this to lady who was walking towards the beach – ‘sad to see the tree is down’ I said. Her response was to burst into tears. She later told me that the lone tree standing against the sea had been a powerful symbol in her life.