We want to re-purpose an old wooden horse box into the Perch Pod - an exciting, bright and colourful mobile information and education centre for use by our team of knowledgeable volunteers and staff.
Our Perch Pod will provide a mobile education facility - it will tour the local area visiting primary schools to encourage children, from as wide a background as possible, to learn about nature and the fantastic landscape of the Cotswold Water Park and to encourage them to visit the area.
The Perch Pod will also tour around many of the key access points within the 180 lake Cotswold Water Park. It will allow our volunteers to provide a warm welcome to visitors providing them with information on walks, wildlife, local history and things to do. By doing this we will ensure that people will feel more confident to visit again without feeling intimidated, improving mental and physical wellbeing.
What we'll deliver:
- Purchase and re-purpose an old horse box into a mobile education and information centre
- Provide a mobile information centre at key access points
- Deliver an educational programme to local primary schools
Why it's a great idea:
1) Utilising the Perch Pod as an Information Centre allows us to engage with the public (over 1 million visits to the Cotswold Water Park each year). We can enhance the understanding of regular visitors and encourage new visitors to feel welcome, not intimidated whilst stressing the need to avoid damage, or disturbance to the wildlife or leaving litter.
2) Provide a welcome to a diverse group of visitors with a further benefit of enhancing well-being and mental health especially with Lockdown measures now easing.
3) We plan to visit 6 primary schools per annum with the Perch Pod introducing younger generations to the need to appreciate and conserve the countryside. Recent surveys have highlighted the need to widen diversity amongst groups currently enjoying the countryside.
4) Economic benefits for over 40 local businesses seeing an increase in visitors.
5) Volunteering opportunities, we currently have a team of 12 (mostly retired) volunteers to engage with the public.
Steps to get it done:
- Purchase second-hand trailer
- Convert trailer into mobile information education centre
- Information delivery at key access points
- Educational visits to local primary schools
We already have a pickup with a two bar that can be used to mover the trailer around.
We have carried out a short survey of our local contacts with regards to the Perch Pod proposal, of 27 respondents 85% felt it would benefit local communities while 74% supported liked the scheme.
At weekends and school holidays in 2019, prior to Covid restrictions, , our volunteers reported engaging with 3,000 groups of people. Over 50% of these asked questions relating to walking, cycling and wildlife. The volunteers also sold over 2,000 walks maps and gave out thousands of the free Leisure Maps produced by Cotswold Lakes Trust on behalf of the many leisure businesses. The Perch Pod provides the opportunity to substantially increase this engagement as it can be positioned in various new locations across the 42 square miles of the Cotswold Water Park.