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Amazing activities in, on under and around the Sound on the horizon

Picture of Tinside Lido

More amazing activities to get people in, on, under and around Plymouth Sound are in the pipeline as the team behind the park outlines an epic programme of events they want to roll out next year.

The Council’s Growth and Infrastructure Scrutiny Committee will get an update on what’s been happening as well as a taster for what’s to come subject to a successful bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The programme of work included the activity plan, major improvements to historic features, nature restoration, a digital park and interpretation to enable the new sustainable relationship with the sea. There will be a focus on working alongside communities that currently have little or no engagement with the NMP. 

Councillor Tudor Evans OBE said: “Festivals, mass participation events, major opportunities for our young people – we have spent time talking and listening to what people want to see and now we are getting ready for action.

“The Sound is a truly stunning asset to this city and the whole aim of the park is to make it accessible to everyone. It should not just be about people who can afford the kit, who can afford to dive, or sail. These programmes will open up opportunities on a scale we have not seen before. I can’t wait.”

The activity plan took into account all the conversations and learning during last year’s test and trial stage. The resulting programme aims to engage and inspire; provide opportunities for learning and discovery and enable connection and positive action to support the long term care of the NMP.  It includes four interconnected programmes of work:

  • Reconnecting Citizens to the Sea – activities designed to inspire and engage including Activate, community archaeology, NMP Festival, mini – splashes, NMP Swim Safe, NMP Pathways, coastal cleans and art engagement.
  • Marine Learning and Futures – activities designed to enable learning and discovery including a five year schools programme with 30 schools, teach the teacher programme, digital curriculum platform, Blue pathways, FE/HE student programme and social enterprise support.
  • Creating Marine Ambassadors – activities to enable people to connect with the Park and support action to enable positive action including a significant volunteer programme, volunteer pathways to enable growth and progression, internships skills development and work experience. 
  • Activating Communities – place based activities to continue work with Ernesettle and Firestone, plus support for three new communities to develop what they want from connection with the NMP.  This programme includes a small scale community grants scheme
Children on giant paddleboard

As well as activities there are significant investments in some of the Sound’s key assets.

Tinside Lido – a planning application has been submitted for a new look for the terrace at the top of the lido.  The first floor of the main building will be restored and repurposed as a multi-purpose space and café/bar, for the community, particularly to enable youth progression activities. Building B’, between the Lido pool and Tinside Cove, will be refurbished for use as a youth outreach/watersports hub, enabling youth workers to support young people to build confidence, develop skills marine-related training and learn about blue sector career opportunities in Plymouth.

Mount Batten Peninsula – work to enhance and bring to life the heritage of the historic peninsula.  The Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre is in line for a new more accessible pontoon, changing room facilities that cater for all and significantly enhanced public spaces to ensure more people can experience its spectacular location. There will be sensitive works to the Mount Batten Tower plateau, to improve access and interpretation of one of the best views of the NMP.

Mount Edgcumbe – refurbishment and opening up the listed Garden Battery will provide better access and enjoyment of this undiscovered coastal fort defence. The work will mean people will be able to experience the extraordinary interior and to better understand this important part of the Sound’s maritime heritage. 

Ernesettle Creek – the community have co-designed the sensitive interventions enabling better access, improvements to the natural environment and interpretation.

Firestone Bay – also co-designed with the community, including interventions to support access to and activities in the water.

Digital Park – an essential part of bringing the wonders of the NMP to life and enable everyone to experience the treasures below the waves. It will blend personal engagement opportunities with the creation of a digital community. Every hub will be linked digitally to the park but also a point where people can connect with the digital park community. Inspirational digital experiences are also in the plan using the latest technology to bring what’s hidden beneath the waves to the shore for more to see.

The plan also includes a nature boost programme with four elements

  • Habitat boost – supporting the restoration of key habitats across the Sound including reefs
  • Species boost – supporting the enhancement of species of the Sound
  • Community Nature Boost – Enabling communities to lead their own projects to enhance the wildlife of the NMP
  • Nature Credit Boost – Building on our Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund project we will continue work to develop a verifiable carbon and nature credit to enable greater levels for funding to be secured for seagrass meadows restoration.

The bid submission in September would result in a decision from the Heritage Fund by the end of 2023. If approved the programme would start next Spring and run for five years.