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BFER Newsletter 2nd Edition July 2021

View this email in your browser BFER NEWSLETTER 2nd EDITION – JULY 2021 Welcome to our second newsletter Hello! And welcome to the second edition of the Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme’s newsletter. We’re going to trial producing this newsletter on a monthly basis, so that we can make this a really […]

2nd EDITION – JULY 2021

Welcome to our second newsletter

Hello! And welcome to the second edition of the Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme’s newsletter.

We’re going to trial producing this newsletter on a monthly basis, so that we can make this a really useful source of information on all things relating to the Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers landscape heritage.

We will include updates on all aspects of the Scheme, including project delivery reports in the ‘Project Focus’ section, an ‘Events’ section to signpost what we hope will be a wide range of exciting events and activities for all ages, interests, and abilities. There will also be other interesting snippets and links to partners’ activities and volunteering opportunities in the Scheme area and wider Brecks.

I hope you enjoy reading this, and would like to encourage you to provide feedback on content, submit ideas and articles, or links to relevant activities in the Scheme area by contacting

BFER Scheme Manager

Meet the Team

Nick Dickson – Scheme Manager
Nick has a background in landscape management and a great interest in all things ‘heritage’ from natural history to archaeology and landscape history. He has spent a number of years managing Suffolk County Council’s portfolio of Countryside sites, and has most recently managed the Brecks’ Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership Scheme, before helping to develop the BFER bid, and taking on the Scheme Manager role. Nick’s role is to manage the delivery team, oversee the 24+ projects being undertaken by our varied partners, ensure our 3rd party grants are well spent, and support legacy development for the Partnership. Hobbies (currently) include green woodworking, gardening, sea fishing, beekeeping, walking, and cycling.

Alexandra Baltrusch – Project Officer
Alexandra is currently on maternity leave and was the second person to join the team last year. She has a background in working in various local authorities across Suffolk and working for the local government graduate scheme. Alexandra has an MSc in Environment History, which focuses on the relationship between humans and nature, including landscape. Alexandra used to play netball and do quite a bit of cycling and she is interested in nature, spending time in the forest and the outdoors. Alexandra is busy being a labrador mum, keeping up her second language, keeping her own chickens, and growing as much fruit and veg as she can.

Ellie Collingwood – Volunteer & Engagement Officer
Ellie has recently joined the team as the Volunteer and Engagement Officer. She will be co-ordinating volunteers and engagement activities across the BFER Landscape Partnership Scheme’s projects. Ellie has a professional background in engagement and supporter relations and an academic background in history and heritage, and is looking forward to putting these skills to good use to support the Scheme. Please feel free to contact Ellie with queries relating to volunteering opportunities or engagement activities within the BFER Scheme.

Tom Juggins – Project Support Officer
Tom joined the BFER team at the beginning of the year in February. He comes from a background in art and museums, having previously studied Fine Art and Museum Studies. Tom also has a passion for photography and video, which he has been bringing to the role to create content for our social media and website. He will also be supporting the team with finances and claims processing as well as undertaking administrative duties. Feel free to contact Tom if you’re not sure who to contact. 

Project Focus

Although lots of projects have been incredibly busy this year, here are a few highlights to celebrate key project milestones.

Microsoft Teams Video Call

1.6 Riparian Landowner Advice

The first Riparian Landowner Meeting was held on 22nd June 2021 with attendees from various organisations such as The Breckland Farmers Wildlife NetworkRSPBNorfolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

The aim of the project is to provide a joined-up approach for delivering bespoke land management advice for the Brecks’ riparian landowners.

Read more about the project here

Children paddling in a ford
Reproduced with thanks to Swaffham Museum

2.2 Tales from the River

The Tales from the River project aims to discover and celebrate Brecks swimming and outdoor recreation heritage. It will train and involve volunteers in gathering history, memories, and folklore about recreation in/on/by the Brecks rivers and other waters. There is a rich tradition of people of all ages enjoying our rivers. We want to collect stories and to explore and celebrate this, and also to revive and continue our connection with the waters of the Brecks.
We will be training and recruiting volunteers in July and September. And we are looking for people who have any stories, memories, folklore, old maps, photos or films about swimming and other watery recreation in the Brecks, and would be happy to talk to us about these or send us info.
Read more about the project here
Contact Imogen Radford

Caston Primary at Thompson Common
Credit: Norfolk Wildlife Trust
3.4 Watery Wildlife Education
Wednesday 23rd June saw the first of our Watery Wildlife Education events. The project is lead by Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Norfolk and Suffolk Wildlife Trusts will work intensively with four key primary schools and surrounding communities in the Brecks, Fen Edge, and Rivers project area to introduce the staff and children to the wealth of watery wildlife in their local countryside. 

This project aims to inspire in-depth learning in young people about the watery wildlife in the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers area and build the confidence of teachers and group leaders to visit local wildlife sites with young people.

Read more about the project here.

4.4 Healing Waters: Breathe in The Brecks

Lots has been happening with our Healing Waters project this month and towards the end of May. In May 11 participants took part in a 3 day training course to be trained as Open Water Swimming Lifeguards. The training was provided by David Ebbs from RLSS (Royal Lifeguard Saving Society UK) in the beautiful setting of Thorpe Woodlands.

Click the image below to watch how our participants got on.
Image showing 11 participants who took part in the lifeguard training

Sunday 6th June saw the next Introduction to Outdoor Swimming event which took place at Jubilee Fields in Mildenhall. We have over 100 participants turn up to try outdoor swimming, the event was prebooked with 4 slots throughout the day. The day was a great success thanks to the project’s 25 volunteers and lifeguards, which included some, newly trained by the Project, on their first official outing. The event was welcomed by Mildenhall’s mayor, Jane Busuttil, Deputy Mayor Ian Shipp, and David Palmer from the River Lark Catchment Partnership ( which promotes conservation of the river and is also a partner in the BFER Scheme.

Click here to head over to our Flickr to see the rest of the photos from the event: 

Swan going pass swimmers in the riverLifeguards with Mayor of Mildenhall

If you’d like to discuss your project idea with a member of the team, would like more information, or to be added to our mailing list email:

BFER Events

Brecks Heritage Schools Digital Network Event
Free CPD opportunities for primary teachers

NWT Watery Wildlife Event – 23rd June
Schools visit to Thompson Common

Tales from the River Event – 7th July
Oral History Training provided by Norfolk Record Office

NWT Watery Wildlife Event – 20th July
Schools visit to Thompson Common

Volunteer Opportunities

Our Partners below are recruiting volunteers for a variety of exciting projects in the Brecks:

River Lark Catchment Partnership

Breckland Society

West Stow Country Park

Thetford Town Council Conservation Group

Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Freshwater Habitats Trust

If you are recruiting volunteers in the Brecks area and would like to advertise your opportunities here, please email:

Have you seen our Flickr page? Click the photo to view it!

Social Media
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Are you subscribed to us on YouTube?

We will be creating more video content this year so make sure to subscribe to us on YouTube and hit the notification bell!

While we are out filming videos for you, you can watch our latest video here:

Open Water Lifeguard Training May 2021

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