National Funding Project Partnership assists restoration.
Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) is the first of four waterway restoration groups to be engaged with a national project known as Heritage Heroes.
The project has been made possible by funding from the Peoples Postcode Lottery working with Canal & River Trust and the Help for Heroes Charity.
Four charities work together
CCT has been awarded £30,000 to enable CCT and Heritage Hero volunteers to work together on the preparation for a piling project on the Stroudwater Navigation at Ryeford, near Stroud.
The Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes charity are working together for the first time to deliver an ambitious canal restoration and career recovery programme for wounded, injured or sick servicemen, women and veterans. The Heritage Heroes project is funded by a £500,000 from players of The People’s Postcode Lottery. The project aims to bring pride and purpose back to heroic veterans while restoring canals. Four veterans have assisted CCT volunteers in the installation of 500m of piling to protect the narrow towpath causeway which separates the canal channel from a fast running mill leat fed by the River Frome.
Inspired by what they encountered on the Cotswold Canals the team of veterans have gone on to install towpath direction posts and refurbish CCT canal-side benches.
(Photos by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Canal & River Trust)
Training for qualifications
The range of canal restoration tasks will provide injured servicemen and women with the opportunity to re-build their lives whilst training to gain City and Guilds Land Management and Construction Industry qualifications.
Some appreciative comments…
Help for Heroes veteran David Teague, 26, of Tidworth, Wiltshire, served as a Sapper with the Royal Engineers before he was medically discharged in April 2016 following a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. At his lowest, he would refuse to leave his house and stopped contact with friends. He now feels ready to kick-start his life again and hopes Heritage Heroes will improve his career prospects.
David explains: “Having joined the Army at 16, I feel massively institutionalised and my hope is that Heritage Heroes will help with my transition into civilian life.
I really want to get back into working as part of a team and build up my confidence again. I’m really excited to take the next step in my new life and I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
Giles Woodhouse, Head of Recovery South at Help for Heroes, said: “Leaving the military, or realising that your career choice may no longer be possible, can be daunting, especially for those who are living with life-changing injuries and illnesses. Working towards a new goal in life through career recovery can be extremely beneficial to an individual’s overall wellbeing, often accelerating their personal recovery journey. This project will resonate with many of our military men and women who will already have some of the necessary skills and enjoy working outdoors, as part of a team.”
Jason Leach, Enterprise and Restoration Team Manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Heritage Heroes is such an exciting project for us. It gives the Canal & River Trust the opportunity to work with a new charity to transform waterways as well as helping to rebuild our wounded heroes’ lives.”
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery comments: “We are delighted that the ‘Dream Fund’ has enabled this partnership between the Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes. Heritage Heroes will make such a difference to the lives of our injured servicemen and women and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of their hard work on our historic canals.”
Jim White, Cotswold Canals Trust Chair of Trustees, sums up: “Working with the veterans has been a privilege for us. As a Trust we passionately believe in the restoration works that we undertake and this project has enabled us to share our passion with military heroes. We have enjoyed sharing our knowledge and skills and in turn they have taught us a great deal too.”
Find out more
- Click on the icons to find out more about the partners in the Heritage Heroes project