We’re excited to hear we’ve been shortlisted for the Public Affairs Awards 2014 for our ‘One Coast for All’ campaign.
Our successful efforts to get a path around the entire England coastline has been shortlisted for Voluntary Sector Campaign of the Year.
Recognition for our advocacy follows the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement in September that the Government has committed to make additional funds available to complete the 3,000 mile England Coast Path by 2020, and include the Isle of Wight.
The achievement comes after decades of campaigning by staff and supporters, and intensive on-the-ground work by our volunteers to identify the route.
In 2009, the public won the right to walk along the coast of England. But by 2010 it all looked in doubt again. Budget cuts meant only 20 miles of coastal path had been constructed, the original completion date of 2019 was extended to 2032 and public comments by a Defra Minister suggested the future of the whole project was now in doubt.
Something had to be done to get the project back on track so in September 2013, we rallied our supporters. Within weeks our petition gathered 20,000 signatures and our supporters funded a ‘Case for Coast’ report, enabling us to make explicit the social and economic benefits of a seaside path.
We launched the report to MPs from an ice-cream van parked in Westminster.
What followed was a hive of activity around the country: local Ramblers walked and talked with their local MP; 42 MPs signed up to support the coastal path; and behind the scenes we lobbied for change.
The Government now started to listen, and in October 2013 new Defra Minister Dan Rogerson confirmed the Government’s would continue commitment to the project.
Believing the Isle of Wight decision to be flawed, we pressed for this to be reviewed, and in July 2014 the government reversed its position to allow for its inclusion. Things got even better two months later when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the path would receive additional funding and construction would be speeded up to ensure that every coastal community in England is connected to the coast path by 2020.
The winner of the award will be announced on 9 December. Shortlisted entries will be judged by a panel of leading figures in the public affairs industry.