News article created on 3 October 2018

Volunteer canal boat launched in Bath

A canal boat has been transformed following its refurbishment which will now see it used by local people to help improve the waterways in Bath.

Community workboat volunteers in Bath Community workboat volunteers in Bath

The newly fitted-out boat will be used as a work platform allowing the volunteers to reach parts of the River Avon and Kennet & Avon Canal that they could not previously get to. The boat will also be used for cutting back overgrown trees and bushes that overhang the water, collecting floating litter, and a host of other community projects.

Funding for the refurbishment of the work boat and training of the volunteers has been provided by several organisations including the Bath City Forum, the Bath WaterSpace Partnership and other local donors including the Avon Frome Partnership and the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust. This is one of 35 ‘WaterSpace’ project ideas identified by the community to improve the river and canal in Bath.

Richard Thomas, director for Wales and South West, said: "We’re delighted to get this new boat out on the water. We know from recent research that people are happier and less stressed when they are by water, and this goes for people volunteering and working on the waterways too. This newly adapted work boat is a fantastic addition for the local community and I’m sure it will be a great help for our volunteering team."

Cllr Bob Goodman, Cabinet member for Development and Neighbourhoods, said: "For far too long we have turned our back to the river in the Bath, as part of the Waterspace project the Bath Community Workboat will enable volunteers to carry out much needed work, including repairs to historic fabric, environmental and community projects."

Cllr Colin Blackburn Chair of Bath City Forum, said: "Bath City forum was pleased to contribute £28,000 towards the Community Workboat fund; this was a great opportunity for us to support Canal & River Trust volunteers who in 2017 contributed 4,000 hours of volunteer time to looking after Bath’s waterways."

For more information on the Bath Waterspace project visit http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/environment/river-safety/rivers-canals/water-space-study