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

20th October 2023

We have launched a significant funding initiative aimed at revitalising the urban environment in Newcastle and North Tyneside. With an ambitious goal to create a green urban corridor that enhances the lives of local residents and the surrounding ecosystem, the £1m fund is dedicated to kickstarting the development of The Ouse Burn Way.

Stretching from the picturesque River Tyne at Ouseburn to Weetslade Country Park, and extending to the Letch in Longbenton, The Ouse Burn Way may extend into Newcastle Great Park. This seven-mile recreational trail will establish a vital connection between communities and nature, offering long-term benefits to residents, water quality, well-being, and local wildlife.

The central vision behind this project is to transform the Ouse Burn into a national exemplar for mitigating pollution in similarly degraded urban rivers across the UK.

Anne Reece, Chair, The Reece Foundation said:

“We are very pleased to provide the funds to kick start this project. This will hopefully enable partner organisations to leverage the additional funds required to bring this project to fruition. 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.

“The Ouse Burn Way 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. 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.

Working with partners including Northumbrian Water, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council and the Environment Agency, there is also close working with local communities to listen to the many voices who value the Ouseburn Valley.

View The Ouse Burn Way online where you can find out more, share your thoughts about the project with the partnership, pledge your support and tell us “What is the best thing that can be done to improve the Ouse Burn Valley for you”.

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. Open 10am–5pm Wednesday–Sunday.

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