Wilts & Berks Canal Trust

Wilts & Berks Canal Trust

At a glance

Causes

  • Environment
  • Local / community

Other details

Geographical remit: 
Regional

Objectives

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is a charitable organisation committed to restoring the full length of this historic canal; from Wiltshire through Swindon and into Oxfordshire. The aim is to create a sustainable and bio-diverse blue and green corridor that, as it winds through our region, provides a host of attractive life style, well –being   and economic benefits to our communities and to visitors, as well as providing a safe and welcoming habitat for wildlife.

This is the largest and most complex waterway restoration project in the UK and on completion will deliver economic, leisure and environmental benefits to our communities along the 70 mile route.

However we are not content to remain only a waterways restoration organisation. We aim to deliver benefits now as well as in the future.

As part of our project, we work with our communities and supporters within our innovative Transitions Project, to identify and deliver benefits to vulnerable groups using the canal, its heritage, restoration and community as a resource to enjoy and learn from.

We do all this by working with other community groups and their volunteers, using the canal, it's heritage, culture, restoration, tranquillity and our own volunteer community resource to deliver benefits to and address the needs of many individuals.

We are unique in that our canal route travels through, and we interact, with both urban and rural communities, addressing a wide range of needs including social isolation, improving work and life skills, addressing mobility and fitness, mental health and re-engagement with community. The needs we address are long term and underlying, and which can significantly affect the quality of life of individuals and their families.

WBCT have a proven track record in our social cohesion and community engagement work and we have developed long term relationships with Help 4 Heroes, WSUN, Swindon Community Art Groups, the Inclusion Project, as well as with business organisations and our Local Authorities.

Our aim is to inspire and excite our communities and future generations to appreciate the benefits water and the restored canal environment can bring to all.

#forallofus

Activities

We promote the Wilts & Berks canal, its restoration and the benefits it provides both now and in the future: we lobby, respond to consultations, communicate with local and national government and our communities. 

We fund raise through our members our communities, through applying to grant making organisations and through developing sustainable income streams from activities associated with the use of the canal.

We  maintain restored sections, both hard structures such as bridges and locks and we maintain the habitats of the waterway and towpath.

We restore lengths of the canal to add to the amount in water, increasing biodiversity and providing new habitat for endangered and protected species such as water voles and great crested newts. Otters have returned to our waterway even in the centre of Swindon.

We develop and run training and skills programmes for our volunteers and for vulnerable people in our communities, improving life and work skills.

We develop and run art, historic and cultural programmes for our communities, allowing all to participate in our project at many different levels.

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