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Winners of the Waterways Alive Awards announced

We have announced the winners of our 2015 Waterways Alive Awards, which celebrate exemplar work by employees and volunteers from across its waterways.

Staff and volunteers from nine finalist projects were invited to attend a gala awards evening held at Anderton Boat Lift on 9 July 2015 where chief executive Richard Parry announced the overall winners.

The finalists had been chosen by a judging panel made up of a mix of 21 office and bank staff in various roles across the charity. Richard Parry then visited and saw first-hand each of the nine shortlisted entries before selecting the overall winners.

There was a winner in each of the three categories:

Small Project Award:

Winner: Volunteer Discharge Survey and Yellowfish initiative. Nearly 700 discharges into Midlands' canals were mapped by volunteers with the data analysed and a rough estimate of monetary value to the Trust (via discharge licences) recorded. Yellowfish – a pollution prevention plan for neighbouring businesses – is being implemented as a result. A ‘yellow fish' is stencilled next to drains leading to the canal, acting as a striking reminder that what enters the drain ends up in a waterways.

The other finalists in this category were:

The Grand Union Experience. An underused and often mistreated section of canal in Southall saw water safety talks given to 1,000 pupils, and angling lessons and a community clean-up event used to engage with the wider, predominantly Punjabi-speaking, community.

Standedge Tunnel Country Fair 2014. An inaugural two day farmers' market/craft fair that drew more than 1,000 visitors.

Medium Project Award:

Winner: HS2: Wood End Lock. HS2 published its Initial Preferred Route in 2012: it would have had a devastating effect on the canal environment in this very special place – a mile from Fradley Junction. The solution, accepted by HS2, showed that the railway could avoid the canal, save the project more than £50m and reduce its environmental impact.

The other finalists in this category were:

Hazel Grove Access Improvement, Grand Union Canal, London. Section 106 funding from a nearby development by Brent Council resulted in a successful engagement project including community volunteering and educational involvement.

Trevor Basin Dry Docks, Llangollen Canal. The project saw the derelict Grade II listed Trevor Basin docks, in a prominent location at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, bought back to life as a working, vibrant waterspace.

Large Project Award:

Winner: The Fiddle & Bone pub, bistro, chandlery and boating facilities, Birmingham.

The Fiddle & Bone Pub had lain empty for 12 years. Working with a local business, the project saw it reopen and provided new and much-needed boating facilities on this busy canal whilst at the same time creating new jobs and opportunities.

The other finalists in this category were:

Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge. The project replaced the bridge deck and corroded superstructure elements, refurbished the pontoon and completely repainted this 500T structure. Disruption was minimised for narrowboats, traffic, pedestrians and local businesses by the installation of a temporary road bridge alongside the swing bridge.

Postles Bridge, Llangollen Canal. The provision of a new access ramp on this roving bridge, which had steep cobbled access, removed a barrier to many users, especially the older residents at adjacent warden-controlled properties.

Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, comments: “The awards celebrate the fantastic work that goes on each and every day right across the Trust that helps move us towards our vision that living waterways transform places and enrich lives.

“The three winning projects were all unique and exceptional, reflecting the variety of activities the Trust carries out – mobilising volunteers to help protect the quality of our water supply; successfully protecting one of our most popular canals from the massive HS2 project; and transforming an iconic canalside heritage property whilst also delivering benefits for boaters.

“Judging the Waterways Alive Awards gives me the perfect opportunity to go out and see the Trust at is best. Whilst the projects are very different in size and scope, in every case, things didn't just ‘happen'; it took all the resourcefulness of those involved and they can be very proud of what they have achieved.”

The awards were open to work or projects completed or mostly undertaken in the year April 2014 to March 2015.

Last Edited: 10 July 2015

photo of a location on the canals
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