Bringing fresh ‘Living’ to the waterways
THE WINNERS OF this year’s Living Waterways Awards, which were introduced by the Canal & River Trust to recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based improvement projects across the UK, have been announced.
The awards, sponsored by Kier, Arcadis, CPC Civils and Fountains, spanned inspirational visitor centres, innovative education projects and pioneering environmental initiatives and are divided into nine categories.
Mikron Theatre’s annual waterways tour by narrowboat Tyseley won in the Art & Interpretation category with the Floating Cinema runner-up.
The Macclesfield Canal won in the Community & Volunteering category after it became the first canal ever to receive a Keep Britain Tidy coveted Green Flag Award which recognises the best green spaces around the country. Runner-up was the Helping Hedgerows initiative in which numerous volunteers helped bring hedges along the canals back to health.
Porter Brook Pocket Park, a project to create a thriving new riverside park just five minutes from Sheffield’s central train station, got the award for Contribution to the Built Environment.
Meanwhile, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Residential won the Education & Learning award. This is an initiative by Coombewood Canal Trust which encourages young people to get involved in the canals (you can see them, above). The Waterworks project that has been training community volunteers to restore a 1.5 km disused section of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in Cwmbran got runner-up in the same category.
The project to restore the rare calcareous grasslands along the Oxford Canal at Fenny Compton to encourage the grizzled skipper butterfly back to the area was the winner in the Natural Environment section. The Dudley Canal Trust topped the Recreation & Tourism category, with the Tall Ships at Gloucester as runner-up, and the Conserve Nantwich Aqueduct scheme won in the Restoration & Historic Environment class.
There was a special award called Volunteers Flood In to recognise the large numbers of volunteers and staff who turned out to help make the Pennines waterways safe after the Boxing Day floods of 2015. And Di Skilbeck MBE, who has been involved in the creation and development of the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port for over 42 years, received an Outstanding Achievement Award.
At the ceremony in Birmingham, the CRT also presented the Volunteer of the Year Award (in partnership with the Marsh Christian Trust) to Peter Bruton. Peter has volunteered on the waterways in the West Midlands since 2004 and is a lead volunteer on the Heritage Working Boats team and volunteer boat skipper.