Helen Moriarty, Bowness & Windermere Forward Project Manager, argues that sustainable solutions need to be found to protect and enhance well-loved places

I COMPLETED an MSc in Responsible Tourism Management to be part of the worldwide movement to make better places to live and visit. Responsible Tourism achieves this by creating benefits for local communities and demonstrating that tourism doesn't have to be to the detriment of local residents and environments.

I've been involved with all sorts of brilliant projects with this aim in mind.

I've recently started working with Bowness & Windermere Forward, a new public/private sector partnership focusing its efforts on enhancing Bowness and Windermere.

Different places mean different things to different people and often those special places, the places we visit again and again, have qualities in common: they are loved and looked after.

Bowness & Windermere Forward exists to create projects that demonstrate how this place is loved by locals and visitors alike.

Every place has needs. In Bowness and Windermere, there is a need to tackle some ‘unloved’ areas with enhancement schemes and public art. Bowness & Windermere Forward will be releasing a 'grot spot' survey for local businesses to let us know which parts of their town they would like improved.

We will then work with partners to secure funding and action as many as possible.

There is also a need to attract more events and utilise the Glebe as a space that brings economic benefits to the town.

We've teamed up with the organisers of the established arts and craft fair ‘Prom Art’ to bring it to the Glebe on July 15, August 16 and September 19 between 10am and 4pm.

We also plan to review the under-utilised buildings in the area, which could be positively transformed to create spaces for events, exhibitions and performances.

There is a need to find sustainable solutions to some of the congestion issues associated with all popular destinations.

Bowness & Windermere Forward has hosted an initial meeting with partners to consider the recommendations outlined in Windermere Town Council's recent 'Congestion Report'.

The report highlights how some visitors to the town struggle to park and makes several recommendations to address this.

Initially, I think the town would benefit from improved residential parking, improved car parks designed with connectivity solutions and improved signage.

Longer-term solutions also need to be considered. Improvements at Windermere Station, pedestrianisation schemes and even park and ride all need to address the key shared objective: how do we encourage fewer people to rely on their cars while visiting the Lake District?

I don’t think there is a single solution, though I do believe that if this question is considered in every enhancement going forward, there is an opportunity to reduce associated issues.

To address all these needs, we need to work together - public, private and charitable sectors.

A responsible tourism approach can only work if all involved in shaping places proactively adopt a sense of responsibility.

Luckily, here in the Lake District many key organisations, from Cumbria Tourism to the Lake District National Park Authority, have sustainable tourism at the heart of their strategies.

Local people also have a responsibility to be proactive and utilise their voice to make positive changes happen.

I’m looking forward to working with everyone interested in the prosperity and sustainability of Bowness and Windermere.

Together we can continue to champion this place to ensure it receives adequate funding to sustain its position as the World Heritage Site's primary visitor destination.

I need your support to identify additional needs, find active solutions and ensure Bowness and Windermere continues to be a place loved by many.