Elmley Nature Reserve

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Elmley is a 3,200 acre National Nature Reserve and farm on the Isle of Sheppey, in North Kent. It is a site of international importance for wildlife, and is unique in being the only National Nature Reserve in the UK that is independently managed. In the middle of the Reserve, sits Kingshill Farm comprising historic buildings, an old farmhouse, and a stunning large Victorian barn which is used for events.

The Reserve welcomes about 15,000 day visitors per year. Currently the Reserve receives income from its farming activities and also government subsidies (through the EU) for its conservation work. The Reserve receives no public funding for the day visitors. With Brexit, the future of the Elmley’s income is uncertain.

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This project asked the students to develop a proposition that positions Elmley as a space for well-being and rejuvenation for the local community – linking in with healthcare needs. The student’s focus will be on the public health needs, but they will need to be aware of Elmley’s commercial activity around well-being and activity should strengthen Elmley’s brand.

Students: Mandy Kershaw, Isabel Vegas Gomez, Mumu Li, Tonya Guan, Jia-Chi Wu

The students’ research showed that Elmley’s current audience comprises serious birdwatchers, wildlife lovers and nature photographers. However, the park is receiving a growing number of visitors for health related reasons. Our research and analysis has shown that the park could be a unique place to treat depression and anxiety, either from London and surrounding groups to its local community.

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The students proposed to develop events around wellbeing and to host corporate event and overnight company retreats, while collaborating in making them to understand the importance of this park and its wildlife.

The group’s target audience is NHS and other organisations that cooperate with depression treatment, and will include from Isle of Sheppey’s local community to a wider range of audiences.

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