The project was a runner-up at the waterways own ‘oscars' which were announced at a gala ceremony in Birmingham on 27 September 2017. Yorkshire poet and fan of inland waterways, Ian McMillan, presented the awards, which were sponsored by Kier, Arcadis, CPC Civils, Land & Water, Vinci and Fountains. The Living Waterways Awards seek to recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based improvement projects across the UK and are assessed by an independent panel of experts.
In an area with high levels deprivation, a series of projects to improve the local environment of the Tees Barrage have been delivered by volunteers, in partnership with us and other organisations. The Tees Barrage Wild Garden with a dipping pond has been created on an area of wasteland. Six bee hives now produce Tees Barrage Honey, a Welcome Station has been refurbished with the help of low risk prisoners, showcasing Tees wildlife and engineering. A ‘Cycle to Fish' scheme engages unemployed young people with angling sessions and daily bike rides, with seal and fish surveys completed with the help of volunteers.
Lee Butler, Tees Barrage Team Leader from the Canal & River Trust said: "It's wonderful to see everyone's hard work recognised by this award. It's been a real team effort, from our regular volunteering group, the Million Hands scout group, the low risk prisoners and all the support staff involved. The Tees Barrage Wild Garden with a dipping pond has rejuvenated an area of unused and unsightly wasteland into an attraction that can now be enjoyed by the local community and used as a resource for visits to the Barrage. Six bee hives now produce Tees Barrage Honey, a Welcome Station has been refurbished, showcasing Tees wildlife and a ‘Cycle to Fish' scheme engages unemployed young people with angling sessions and daily bike rides."
The Tees Barrage Wild Garden was featured on BBC1's ‘Countryfile' in April this year, showcasing the development of the dipping pond and surrounding area with the support of a local scout group, as part of the charity's ‘A Million Hands' project.