I’m leaving Nurture Lakeland for a new adventure north of the border. For years I’ve been heading to Scotland at every opportunity so now it’s time to give living and working there a go. It is not without regret though that I leave Cumbria and Nurture.
The highlights of my two years as Director are many. Whilst this stunning landscape will always look impressive, the nature that lives here is fragile. So I’ve loved the opportunity to raise funds to look after it - and help mitigate the impact of tourism and climate change on our natural environment. It’s been great to get to know the tourism sector – the businesses, the people who run them, their challenges and their values. Many business people embrace the importance of taking care of our surroundings because they know that it benefits their customers and their bottom line and often also their own personal wellbeing and that of their staff. Other businesses are harder to engage – sometimes because they prioritise other equally deserving causes and sometimes because they don’t see a benefit for them or their business. But without this place - these fells and waters and the wildlife they hold and the people that they entrance - we would all be so much poorer.
I’ve loved exploring new places in the Lakes. It seems that my favourite place is usually the last one that I’ve visited. I’ve loved also finding out more about the fantastic ospreys nesting near Bassenthwaite; why it is that footpaths ‘move’ downhill; meeting Fix the Fells and other volunteers who show awesome dedication. I’ve loved the challenge of travelling to meetings with a combination of bikes and trains and cadging lifts where possible. I’ve loved the opportunities I’ve had to present our work to many and varied audiences. I usually start with a canter through all the reasons why the Lake District and Cumbria are special – including mention of what I describe as ‘the most optimistic male in Britain’. That was the golden eagle – who came back to the Lakes and skydanced for a mate year on year on year, ever hopeful, until this year. And it was often the golden eagle that most tugged on the heartstrings of the audience.
The first film that I made at Nurture involved throwing buckets of Windermere water over the staff in our own version of the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was great fun. The last film was a more professional affair – made by a generous and talented friend to Nurture. I hope that you will watch and share it. It sums us up pretty well I think.
I wish the best of luck to Nurture Lakeland, the members and fundraisers and visitors who all contribute so much to this place. I hope it will grow and grow and do even more to support resilience in the natural environment – resilience against future flooding, resilience against public sector budget cuts, resilience to cope with increasing numbers of visitors.
I'm leaving Nurture in the extremely capable hands of my colleague Sarah Dale who will be Acting Director, and the fantastic Board of Trustees.