Cherish Eden

Part of project: Community

Cherish Eden was a £2.5 million National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund project delivered over five years between 2013 and 2018. The essence of the project was to engage more people in learning about the River Eden catchment, to facilitate their participation in its conservation and to encourage people to care about its future. It has achieved this by offering a varied programme of events and activities, education for schools and families, volunteering opportunities and skills training; and by nurturing community engagement.

The thread running through all of the Cherish Eden activities was that people learnt about the river environment and heritage in a way that encouraged more personal responsibility for its future.

Here’s just a flavour of the projects delivered under the Cherish Eden banner:

Putting Eden in the picture

Young people were encouraged to dust off their camera (phones), learn some photography skills and capture the Eden in all its glory. Over the five years, we worked with young people from Carlisle Youth Zone, Nacro, Shap Youth Club and scores of Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts from all over the catchment. A highlight was Project Rainbow, created by 150 young people for the Eden Rivers Wonder World exhibition, it revealed Eden’s wildflowers in all the colours of the rainbow.

Recovering from Storm Desmond

In the immediate aftermath of Storm Desmond in December 2015, our apprentices worked tirelessly to help communities recover (cleaning up, helping flooded householders clear their houses, removing fallen trees and more). The rest of the Cherish Eden team wanted to do their bit to help with the recovery and hatched a plan to commission artists to work alongside them with flooded communities in Appleby and Carlisle on ambitious creative projects that would help participants to process and start to recover from their ordeal.

Two hugely popular pieces came out of that work: Inside Out felt trail and Marble Run: River.

Rivers for life!

Schools have been at the heart of Cherish Eden and our learning programmes provided children with plenty of hands-on learning about rivers and inspiring, we hope, a life-long love of rivers.

Employing less traditional methods to get the healthy rivers message across  – including film making, litter monster creating, book illustrating, storytelling along with a splash of social action and river dipping in their local river, students have learnt about Eden’s native species as well as ticking off elements of the geography, numeracy and literacy parts of the curriculum!

Check out The Adventurous Salmon and Litter Monster to get a flavour of their work.

Eden Apprentices

Over four years, 12 young people heeded the call to become Eden Apprentices, learning valuable conservation management, life and employment skills as well as gaining a recognised qualification that looks good on their CV.


The volunteering programme achieved its aims of improving river conservation skills and bringing wider benefits, including improving employability skills and health and wellbeing. Cherish Eden has maintained a steady number of over 60 regular volunteers working on a range of different activities. Our volunteering programme is still going strong – if you’ve got some time on your hands, why not sign up today!

Eden Rivers Wonder World

Eden Rivers Wonder World exhibition and the related activities that led to it formed a significant part of the final year of the Cherish Eden project, working in partnership with Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery. It was the culmination of the project and reached a large audience of over 14,000 adults and children

This was the first time that we had proposed such a large exhibition in a regionally recognised museum and it was also a first for Tullie House Museum, who had previously not built an exhibition of this size themselves. The partnership brought together the specialist knowledge and experience of the Trust in developing the content and that of Tullie House in the design and installation of the exhibition.

The exhibition was displayed at Tullie House over the summer of 2018 and there was a programme of related drop-in activities and events for families before and during the exhibition period. Schools and youth groups were engaged in activities leading up to and during the exhibition and three schools, in particular, helped to create the Litter Monster.


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