Published: Tuesday, 14th June 2022

A North Kent partnership project has received initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for The Whose Hoo project.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to help residents discover and celebrate the heritage and habitats of the Hoo Peninsula. 

Development funding of £260,000 has been awarded to help create an initial integrated programme of heritage schemes and events with a view to progress plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date.

Whose Hoo brings together a wide range of community, wildlife and environmental groups, to work in partnership with us, Gravesham Borough Council, Kent County Council and parish councils. 

Passion for the area's history and environment

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “We know from our work with the communities across the peninsula that there is an energy and passion for the area’s history and its environment. This funding will help to design a programme that fosters an even greater understanding of the place, especially among our young people. 

“It will help to create a platform to celebrate its past and also look to the future by engaging with the local community in the area they live.”   

One aspect of the Whose Hoo project is designed to replace part of the lost treescape of the peninsula, including the planting of 500 new disease-resistant Elm trees, a species decimated by Dutch elm disease in the late 1960s and 70s.

The habitat theme has already identified a series of partnership projects that could help improve the many unique sites on the Hoo Peninsula, including treatments to increase invertebrates at Northward Hill and efforts to ensure Shorne Marshes realises its full ecological potential. The team will be partnering with the RSPB to protect lapwing populations and other wading birds. 

Improve the area's diverse areas of interest

Alan Johnson, Area Manager at The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Hoo Peninsula with many partners working together to understand and improve the area’s diverse areas of interest, including its spectacular wildlife and long cultural history connected with industry and defence. We are thankful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund to enable the partnership to build upon its ambitions further. The RSPB manages five nature reserves on the Hoo Peninsula and also actively works with many of its farmers to make their operations more friendly for nature.”

Exciting projects will make a huge impact

Keith Gulvin, Vice Chair at Slough Fort Preservation Trust added: "The team at Slough Fort are delighted that the Heritage Fund have awarded the consortium the development grant. This will enable us now to work up the final bid with our partners. If successful, this will provide a quantum leap for the restoration and development of Slough Fort and the other exciting projects across the consortium and the Hoo Peninsula. It will make a huge impact and difference to our diverse communities and heritage, these are very exciting times." 

Whose Hoo is also proposing a hydrological study in response to climate change to help ensure future developments protect wildlife and people. 

Telling the story of the peninsula’s heritage and helping to restore it are key aspects of the Whose Hoo project. The project will be securing volunteers to study the archaeology and industrial history of the peninsula, improve surroundings and deliver events introducing the area’s military history to local people. 

Oral histories of World War Two will be gathered and displayed in a History Hub exhibition at Slough Fort, which will be accessible to the Hoo population. Securing the future of Shornemead Fort and restoring the main barracks of Slough Fort will also provide visitor facilities and displays. The focus will be on explaining the peninsula’s role in protecting the nation against invasion, including during the medieval period, against Napoleon’s forces, and during the Second World War when the Hoo Stop Line was constructed to guard against the invasion.

News archive