Community and Social Enterprise

Wherever possible, Sussex Wildlife Trust is supporting local communities to deliver social change in order to help benefit our natural environment. The current economy sees nature as a barrier to progress, and is quick to dismiss its value and to destroy our natural landscapes without considering the full consequences.

The natural environment fundamentally supports the health and well being of people and wildlife and provides us with 'free' resources that we cannot live without. The South Downs National Park and Wealden Greensand for example, help to clean and store the drinking water for over 1.1 million people, our woodlands, wetlands and forests store vast amounts of carbon for us, and physical and mental health has been closely linked to access to greenspace. We need to help create systems which create sustainable, long term and dynamic solutions for change.

We hope to encourage local communities to find alternatives to our current culture of environmental wastage. Culture change takes time, so increasing people’s awareness of the alternatives which are out there is the first step. These alternatives often require communities to come together, work together and plan alternative futures together, so working in partnership is key. These are just a few of the organisations as well as Sussex Wildlife Trust which work with nature for the benefit of people and wildlife :-

At the moment, our 'health and progress' as a nation are measured using the monetary based GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Gross National Happiness (GNH) was invented in the 1970's as an alternative way of measuring social development, and a more realistic way of measuring how important it is for people to have a good standard of living, in balance with their environment. The natural environment is fundamental to good GNH and Sussex Wildlife Trust works to support many of the key indicators of GNH.

The four pillars of GNH are :-

1. the promotion of sustainable development,
2. promotion of cultural and community values,
3. conservation of the natural environment,
4. and establishment of good governance.

GNH promotes eight general contributors to happiness:-

1. physical, mental and spiritual health
2. a good life / time-balance
3. social and community vitality
4. cultural vitality
5. good education
6. living standards
7. good governance
8. and ecological vitality

We have limited staff resources at present to support social enterprise, however we have in-house expertise and a good baseline knowledge of initiatives which are happening across Sussex. If you have an idea for a community or social enterprise, and would like to discuss it, please contact fransouthgate@sussexwt.org.uk and we will support you as much as we can.

The South Downs National Park - Protecting our drinking water