Staff, volunteers and partners talk about life working with and for The Waterways Trust
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!
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.