The Island 2000 project began in 1997 as a partnership between 10 organisations; Isle of Wight Council, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit, Rural Community Council, National Trust, National Farmers Union, Country Land and Business Association, Environment Agency, Countryside Commission, Association of Town and Parish Councils and Southern Water.
This partnership submitted a £3 million application to the Millennium Commission for landscape, environment and recreational enrichment. The bid was successful and work soon began on the first major projects, including a new geology museum at Sandown and major renovations and extensions to the Island’s botanic gardens. The bid’s ambitious vision for Island-wide heritage conservation, environmental and arts interpretation and a better, healthier public realm for Islanders and visitors then became the nucleus of the newly created Island 2000 Trust.
From April 1999 the first projects took shape and the Trust began its work. For the next ten years the Island 2000 Trust restored neglected places, bought and managed land for public enjoyment and wildlife conservation, organised and led hundreds of public walks and events, commissioned new work from up-and-coming Island artists and worked with every school and parish on the Island. The Trust built a reputation for creative problem solving and a will to ‘get things done’ and initiated bodies of work that have grown and continued ever since to become significant contributors to the Island’s environmental quality. Projects include the long-term restoration of the heritage of the East Yar Valley, the urban conservation work of the Newport Rivers Group and the annual RiverFest, the public and community arts programme of No Barriers.
In the summer of 2009, talks began about the opportunity for the Trust to merge with the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership, a company that could offer synergy and increase the broad skill set held by the Trust even further. Both companies held similar core values and a passion to promote and enhance the Isle of Wight including the development of rural tourism.
In May 2010 the merger was complete and the Island 2000 Trust now has the great advantage of a multi-disciplinary team in Natural Enterprise to push forward projects, programmes and services old and new. The focus now is to uncover and support the many and varied local environment and community initiatives that make the Island such a special place.
Gift to Nature continues to deliver Island 2000 Trust’s original remit of maintaining conservation sites around the Island, not only care for the Island’s wildlife but to encourage one and all to explore the Island’s fantastic countryside.