The REEL project team, which encouraged people in Lincolnshire to try the sport of angling and made habitat improvements for wildlife, is celebrating after winning a prestigious Environment Agency award for best ‘Community Engagement Project’.

 The three year REEL (Recreation and Environmental Enhancements in Lincolnshire) project was launched in 2004 and improved rivers and drains around Lincoln and Boston for angling and quiet recreation.

 The award was presented to REEL for showing the greatest commitment to diversity and customer involvement, resulting in clear environmental benefits to the community for which it was intended.  REEL involved local angling clubs, anglers, British Disabled Angling Association, local special schools, youth services, scouts, Sustrans (sustainable transport charity), British Waterways and the wider community.

 The project beat competition for the award from community engagement projects from around the country, including ones from Middlesbrough and London.

 A whole range of activities to promote angling took place over the three years of the project, from ‘have a go’ fishing sessions to the development of a new website providing information on angling in Lincolnshire.

 Amanda Jenkins, REEL project officer for the Environment Agency said: ‘The REEL project has spent nearly half a million pounds over three years and we are really pleased with the variety of projects REEL has achieved.’

 ‘The involvement from the start of the local anglers, angling clubs and the wider community has made this project the success it is.  This award recognizes the enthusiasm and support from our partners.’

 Andy Baxendale, Area Manager for the Environment Agency added: ‘The REEL project installed more than 70 fishing platforms, improved local habitats and provided 500 people with the opportunity to try angling.  This project has made a real difference on the ground and I am delighted that the hard work of the REEL team and all those involved has been recognised.’

 The REEL project was part of the Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership and was funded by Lincolnshire County Council, the European Regional Development Fund and the Environment Agency.