Staff, volunteers and partners talk about life working with and for The Waterways Trust
From Kim Chester, Development Manager:
Today I'm in Stroud working alongside Stroud
District Council and the Cotswold
Canals Trust on the restoration of the canal. It's a big
project (total cost around £33m) with lots of engineering and as
well as environmental and community projects. My role is to
help raise the match funding that is required, this means working
with the team to develop projects which meet the needs of the
community, the project and are appealing to funders.
At the moment I'm working with Stroud in Bloom to make sure that they are
involved in the landscaping projects. By working in
partnership with them we've managed to secure £500's worth of free
trees which the community will be planting on March 26th. So
if you live in Stroud and fancy a morning getting muddy, bring a
spade and gloves to Cope Chat Field by Hilly Orchard bridge and
come and get stuck in!
I need to keep an eye on the clock though as I need to catch the
early train today as this evening I'm off to swim training - I'm
entering my first open water triathalon this summer and its all
getting a bit scary!
Want to know more about the tree planting event? Contact Kim.
Find out the latest about the restoration of the Cotswold Canals.
It's long been a desire of mine to visit the Scottish Highlands
and now with recruitment of a Canal Environment & Heritage
Officer for the Caledonian Canal underway, maybe I'll have just
the excuse to go. Our work in Scotland is going from strength to
strength, as well as extending our work to the Highlands our Scents & Sensitivities
project at Auchinstarry Basin on the Forth & Clyde Canal is
just a few weeks away from completion.
This has been a mamouth iniative - to transform a new canal
basin into a resource which is valued, used and enjoyed by the
local community and visitors to the area.
Working with the local community of Croy, we have helped to
create a sensory garden and nature trail, new pathways and seating
areas. Stunning sculptures provide wonderful focal points at the
site. Local school children worked with artists to create artwork
which now adorns litter bins, picnic benches and helps to interpret
the site. Volunteers from The Coach House Trust also learnt valuable
woodworking skills when they helped create the picnic benches.
This project is a great example of just how we are helping to
enrich people's lives through waterways.
Sometimes it isn't easy for people to get out to see, explore or
discover their local waterway due to age - too old, too young,
mobility issues or simply a lack of interest. To help overcome some
of these issues our Canal Community Liaison Officer in Scotland, Steven Cole, got together with the Open Museum at
Glasgow Museum Resource centre to create a Glasgow Canal
The kit contains museum objects such as a model puffer
boat, a kingfisher, butterflies, plant-life specimens, a horseshoe,
a windlass, boat tickets and small samples of goods that were both
transported on and made along the canals. There are also
photographs, a map, suggested walks and a history of the canal.
Local community groups such as youth groups, nurseries, care
homes, community centres can borrow the kit free of charge and help
more people uncover the history of their area, the wildlife that
make their homes along waterways or perhaps how of Glasgow has
changed over the years.
This is just one of the ways that the Trust is helping to make
the story, heritage and wildlife of our canals and rivers more
accessible to the local community.
You can find out more about this kit by contacting the Open Museum.
I'm also trying to stick to my New Year's resolution of doing
some kind of exercise each day and with Spring on its way, the
office's location in Gloucester Docks leaves me with no excuse but
to get out and pound that towpath on my lunch break. If you are
able to get along to a canal or river, they can be fantastic places
to set a new PB (personal best). A nice, flat route makes a marked
difference to the hills of Herefordshire where I live!
Saw a manual typewriter in the office yesterday it looked like a
museum artefact. Slowly rememberd that I learned to type on a
machine like that! Makes you realise how far we have come in such a
relatively short space of time. Although given all my IT headaches
over the past couple of days maybe all progress isn't so good. With
the exception of keys bunching up when you typed too fast, how many
things could actually go wrong with a typewriter?
Good piece on Coutryfile on
Sunday about the National Waterwys Museum and the Heritage
Boatyard. And folk our Scotland office have started tweeting. Follow
them and see what's happening on the Lowland Canals.
Waterways Action Squad is going
from strength to strength. More than 700 young people have take
part in events and activities along our waterways since the project
got under way in July 2009.
It is crucial that we help the next generation to build a
connection with our canals and rivers so they are looked after and
used for years to come.
Another project in Scotland which has helped several young
people gain much needed work experience is nearing completion.
Three Modern Apprentices have spent a year working on our
environmental improvement project at Auchinstarry Basin on the
Forth & Clyde Canal, Scents &
Sensitivities. They have learned how to landscape, lay
paths, plant hedgerows and build fences. Hopefully these new skills
and practical work experience will help them get a job in the
future. We'll be celebrating everything that has been achieved
through the Scents and Sensitivities project in March.
Tuesday 25 Jan
New website is now live, rather scary. It has been so long in
the planning and development, taking that final step to go-live was
rather daunting. Comments have been positive so far, just waiting
for someone to discover a glitch or fault...
BBC's Countryfile visited the National Waterways
Museum at Ellesmere Port to shoot a feature. Great success.
Crew were really friendly, presenter Ellie Harrison arrived at the
museum on one of our historic boats then interviewed some
volunteers about what life would have been like on a canalboat and
had a go at re-creating some Roses & Castles artwork.
Looking forward to seeing the final feature on Sunday 6 Feb.
Busy week, as usual. Met producer from Countryfile to discuss a
possible feature on our Heritage Boatyard at the National Waterways
Museum. Would be really good publicity for the boatyard and museum
and give the two young trainees to show off the new skills that
they have learnt.
Finished editing our newsletter for our Scottish supporters,
it's now with the designer and should be dropping on people's door
mats in early February. Now to make a start on Rushes, the
newsletter for our supporters in England & Wales.
Judging for the 2011 Waterways Renaissance Awards is also well
underway. Yet more fantastic projects showing just how people and
organisations are working together to make the most of our canals
and rivers even in these cash-strapped economic times. A real
Oh and the small matter of finalise this great new website so it
can go live. It will be a super way to communicate to and with our
current and new supporters and partners - showcasing our work and
hopefully getting more people involved in what we do.