People in Somerset are being asked to support the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal this week, by voting instore for a project to restore the waterway’s historic pillboxes as part of Tesco’s ‘Bags for Help’ campaign.
The Trust – who care for the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal – is making the appeal after the project, which will see volunteers assess, repair and repurpose the Second World War structures, is set to hit stores for voting.
The ‘Bags for Help’ scheme, which is run by Tesco and environmental charity Groundwork, uses the proceeds generated from the sale of carrier bags in stores to create or improve green spaces in communities.
Pillboxes are a common sight along the canal, after lines of the characteristic concrete structures were built during the Second World War as a defensive line against a German invasion. Manned by the Home Guard, the pillboxes guarded all the canal crossing points and are today poignant reminders of the period when an invasion was expected at any moment.
David Viner, heritage advisor at the Trust, said: "The Bridgwater & Taunton Canal has a fantastic history, and the pillboxes dotted alongside it play a real part in telling its story. Nowadays it’s difficult to know quite what to make of them – they’re small, cramped and quite basic buildings, and this project will look at the different things we could do – from turning them into bat shelters to using them as bases for interpretation.
"With the support of the local community, we’re hoping we’ll be able to use our volunteers to clean up the buildings, conserve them and tell the story of the Bridgwater & Taunton’s Home Guard for all of the canal’s visitors to enjoy."
Voting begins instore from 31 October until 13 November. Customers choose which project they’d like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check-out in store. The result are due to be announced at the end of November.