Lewes and Ouse Valley eco-nomics (L&OVe) is a community group that operates under the umbrella of Transition Town Lewes (TTL). We currently have about 20 active members, and double that number on the mailing list. Meetings usually take place upstairs at the Lewes Arms. The current Chairperson is Colin Tingle. If you want to join us, please send us a message from the contact page
How did we get started?
In August 2010, Colin made a presentation on ‘Rooting the local economy’ at the Lewes Arms. The large turnout and positive feedback led to the creation of an informal group that started to discuss the connection between the local economy and the local environment.
Initially called the ‘Lewes Pounds for Ecosystem Services’ (LP4ES) group, the members realised that we needed to find new ways of understanding the relationship between nature and the environment. In April 2011, the group organised its first workshop at the Linklater Pavillion, home of the Railway Land Project. The success of the first workshop, led to a second being organised in October the same year, and the process was documented in a poster Going Local: community visualisation of ecosystem services, that was presented at a conference in Ediburgh called “Valuing Ecosystems: Policy, economic and management interactions“. But we weren’t just sitting in meetings… we also started organising walks in collaboration with the Sussex Wildlife Trust that allowed us to take a closer look at naturegain.
The L&OVe constitution
As the activities of the group started to expand, the members agreed that we needed to draw up a constitution and elect a committee. After a few rounds of discussion and drafting, the Lewes and Ouse Valley eco-nomics group became ‘official’ at a general meeting on 10th May 2012.
The aims of the Group, as stated in the constitution are as follows…
- To promote an awareness of the value of natural capital and the benefits flowing to the community (hereafter referred to as ecosystem services or NatureGain) in the Lewes and Ouse Valley area.
- To act as a focal point within Transition Town Lewes for discussion across the wider Lewes community and action that connects the local economy with the local environment.
- To encourage and support efforts by local enterprises/ organisations – public, private and voluntary – that protect, sustain and enhance the benefits provided by the local environment (NatureGain) on which the well-being of the community depends.
- To conduct educational, research and development activities in collaboration with local individuals, organisations, businesses and land managers that contribute to the above aims.
- To join with others to undertake practical examples of enhancing NatureGain locally
The full constitution of our group can be downloaded by clicking on this link.
Projects and partnerships
The activities carried out in 2011 made us realise that we needed to find funds to carry out more detailed studies of the relationship between the local environment and the local economy. The task could not be achieved by volunteers meeting for a few hours every month! Consequently, applications were submitted and after a series of interactions with staff of South Downs National Park Authority, we were invited to join the ‘South Downs Way Ahead’ Nature Improvement Area (NIA) Partnership. After considerable effort, some funding was secured from DEFRA as part of a grant awarded to South Downs Way Ahead Partnership, as one of only 12 Nationally to be successful for the budget coming out of the government’s White Paper on the Natural Environment. Our part of this project is called ‘Chalking up the benefits’, and you can read more about this at our Projects page.
In order to carry out this work, L&OVe is collaborating with a large number of organisations, including the South Downs National Park, Lewes District Council, Brighton University, and the RSPB. A special mention needs to be made of the Lewes Railway Land Wildlife Trust, that is providing office space, and the Sussex Wildlife Trust, which is helping us with finacial management. Links to these organisations can be found at our Partners page.
You can download our monthly updates (as pdf files) by clicking on these links: