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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Making a difference to countryside access in the New Forest

The New Forest Access Forum is recruiting new volunteers to join its statutory forum that gives advice on improving access opportunities for walking, cycling, horse riding and other open-air recreation in the New Forest National Park and surrounding area.

The Access Forum is an independent advisory body made up of volunteers who offer their time and experience on public access to the countryside and coast. It takes in the needs of a wide-range of user groups before advising local and national authorities and organisations on access issues.

Applications are welcomed from anyone who has knowledge or experience in a wide range of areas such as: leisure and recreational activities; farming and land management; nature conservation; education; health; tourism; young people; minority groups and local businesses.  The Forum meets four times a year and travel expenses to and from the meetings is paid for.

Sarah Manchester, Countryside Access Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority and Support Officer to the New Forest Access Forum, said: ‘The work of the Access Forum is essential to the New Forest. Organisations such as the New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and highways authorities value the advice of the Forum as they know it will have taken everyone’s viewpoints into account. I would urge anyone with an interest in the improvement of countryside access in the New Forest to consider making an application to join the Forum.’

The Forum is formally appointed for a term of three years by Hampshire County Council and the New Forest National Park Authority which also provides the secretariat support.

For more information contact Forum Secretary Vicki Gibbon on 01590 646647 or email Application packs are available on request, or can be downloaded from the National Park Authority website

The closing date for applications is 5pm on 15 May 2012.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Mytime swings into action at Dibden Golf Centre

Golfers will notice a range of improvements at Dibden Golf Centre as new management get into the swing.

Mytime Dibden Golf Centre Staff
Social enterprise Mytime Active started a 30 year contract this month to manage the popular centre on behalf of New Forest District Council.

Plans are in the pipeline to re-invest profits into improved facilities and services at Dibden, which already boasts splendid 18 and nine hole parkland courses, an 18 bay floodlit driving range and a refurbished clubhouse with magnificent views of Southampton Water.

There will also be a Mytime Golf Academy to encourage more people into the game, including young people and schools, first timers and female players.

Mytime Active Chief Executive Steve Price said: “I’m very excited about taking on the management of Dibden. As a social enterprise we re-invest profits into service improvements and we’re currently looking at improving entrance and clubhouse facilities, and better year-round playing conditions.

“We’re looking forward to meeting with golfers and getting their views on the priorities for improvements and hopefully we can build on Dibden’s excellent reputation and quality.”

New Forest District Council’s portfolio holder for health and leisure, Cllr Di Brooks, added: “I am delighted that Mytime Active is planning to continue making Dibden Golf Centre one of excellence, and I hope the improved facilities will encourage more local people of all ages to try their hand at a game of golf.”

The tendering exercise for New Forest District Council was facilitated by Smith Leisure and John Ashworth Associates as expert advisors to the council.

Mytime Active also operates Southampton City Golf Course and 17 other courses nationally, making it one of the leading pay and play golf operator in the country.

Details of outline improvements are on display at Dibden Golf Centre, Main Road, Dibden, Southampton, Hampshire, SO45 5TB.  Tel: 023 8020 7508

Friday, 20 April 2012

Green fun for all the family this Saturday at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre

Cost-cutting ideas, delicious food, savings on fuel and buying local are just some of the many things on offer at this year’s Greener Living Show.

The Show, organised by the New Forest National Park Authority, has once again teamed up with IKEA to promote greener alternatives to aspects of everyday living. There will be nearly 60 stalls and last year over 1,300 people came to the show to find out more about caring for the environment.

This free event from 10am-4pm at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, Fordingbridge, will take place this Saturday 21 April.

The day will be packed with attractions that include: the IKEA sustainability roadshow, New Forest Marque Cookery demonstrations, wild cooking, food tasting, the latest renewable technologies, local craft, delicious produce, storytelling, children’s activities, the New Forest Tour and much more.

Claire Gingell, Interim Project Delivery Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The day will be full with practical advice on greener living. Taking small steps such as recycling, driving more fuel efficiently, insulating your home and buying local food is not only good for the New Forest and the wider environment but it is also a good way to save money.

‘The National Park Authority supports eco businesses and organisations and it’s great to be able to bring them all together at such a great family-orientated event to show people what’s on offer in the New Forest.’

Mark Sokol, IKEA Southampton’s Community and Sustainability Specialist said: ‘Sustainability is at the heart of the IKEA ethos and we hope that by helping our customers to take a small step to improve the environment on a local scale, we can collectively have a global impact. Our Never Ending List products help people to live a sustainable life at home and we’ll be demonstrating how people can make a difference. There will be children’s activities such as herb planting and colouring too.’

Chris Evetts, Sandy Balls Operations Director, said: ‘Sandy Balls has traditionally always practiced sustainable living. As a business, reducing costs through sustainable practices makes absolute sense and we are very pleased to have been asked to host the Greener Living Show at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre for the second year in a row.’

For more information about the event visit show and for updates follow us on Twitter @newforestnpa or on Facebook.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

LONDON 2012 - 100 DAYS TO GO TO LONDON 2012 - The New Forest celebrates its local heroes

With 100 days to go to the London 2012 opening ceremony, New Forest residents and visitors are being encouraged to support local Olympic hopefuls.

The New Forest National Park Authority and New Forest District Council are launching an exhibition of photographs of New Forest elite and up-and-coming talented athletes on Wednesday 18 April. The striking series of images captures the athletes practising their sport in the iconic New Forest landscape.

The exhibition, which will tour venues around the New Forest between now and the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in September, will showcase the National Park landscape, encourage people to back their local heroes and inspire people of all ages to get involved in sport.

With stories of their road to London 2012 in an accompanying booklet, the athletes have spoken about how they started out in their sport and their links to the New Forest.

Among those featured are triple Olympic gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie from Lymington; GB wheelchair rugby team member Aaron Phipps from Totton; Commonwealth silver medallist gymnast Laura Edwards from Brockenhurst; GB Volleyball player Nichola Osborne from New Milton and GB handball team member Dan McMillan from Sway. The photos by Robert Nemeti were taken in iconic New Forest settings including Palace House at Beaulieu, Buckler’s Hard, Hatchet Pond and the Rhinefield Aboretum.

Laura Edwards at Ornamental Drive
Phoebe Dowson at Buckler's Hard
Leader of New Forest District Council, Councillor Barry Rickman, said: ‘New Forest District Council is proud of its talented athletes and committed to supporting sport at many different levels from the grass roots to the elite. We hope to raise the profile of some of our top class athletes and get the whole of their local community behind them. For local residents to watch these athletes at the biggest sporting event on earth and realise that you can come from the New Forest, start at one of our many great clubs and make it all the way to the top should be an inspiration to get involved.

‘This exhibition also profiles some of our rising stars who are aspiring to reach the heights of those Olympic athletes. The legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be our world class athletes inspiring others from their local communities to get involved, to take up activity and realising that if you have the talent and determination you too could achieve your dreams.’

Alison Barnes, New Forest National Park Chief Executive, said: ‘With London 2012 and the torch relay passing through the New Forest, this summer gives us a golden opportunity to celebrate our historic landscape.

‘The New Forest was created for sport by William the Conqueror over 900 years ago as his hunting ground and has an impressive sporting history. So it is fitting that the area is home to so many elite athletes hoping to compete on the world sporting stage at the London 2012 Olympics.

‘Part of the National Park’s remit is to increase people’s understanding and enjoyment of the National Park while conserving the landscape for future generations. The Olympic year offers a unique opportunity to shine the spotlight on what is special about the Forest.

‘We hope by visiting this exhibition, people will be inspired to explore this unique landscape while taking up healthy activities – whether it is out enjoying a peaceful walk in the Forest or more formal sporting pursuits to reaching the pinnacle of Olympic competition.’

As well as attending the exhibition, people can post messages of support for the New Forest athletes by searching for New Forest 2012 on Facebook or on Twitter follow @newforestnpa