We’re pleased to announce that as part of our community adoption scheme, which encourages local community groups to adopt stretches of canal in their area; both Bridgwater YMCA and the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal Association have recently taken on the task of helping to care for stretches of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal.
The YMCA adoption group is made up of young people who are carrying out tasks such as litter clearance and vegetation management along a stretch of the canal from Taunton Road Bridge to Albert Street Bridge. The group will be getting out on the water using two rafts which will allow them to work both on the towpath and afloat. They will be able to access hard to reach locations and help the keep the canal in a good state of repair.
Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “It’s fantastic to see different groups from our community helping to care for the local environment through the Canal & River Trust’s adoption scheme. The activities being undertaken by the two groups can only help to improve the canal and ensure it remains a place for wildlife to thrive and for us all to enjoy.”
Nicky Parfitt, activities programme manager for the YMCA Bridgwater said: “The adoption is a way of helping the young people feel a sense of ownership over this stretch of waterway as well as developing their learning and team work skills. They will hopefully not only be able to take reward from their hard work but gain a sense of pride in their local environment.”
The Bridgwater & Taunton Canal Association has recently adopted a stretch of canal in the Maunsel area, from Kings Lock to Outwood Swing Bridge. Chris Whitcombe, leader of the group, has been volunteering on the canal for many years and also runs the Maunsel Lock Canal Centre with his wife Val.
Chris explains: “The adoption is a great way to help make a practical difference to the canal. We are undertaking tasks such as painting, vegetation management and litter clearance as well as creating a wildlife garden, planting fruit trees and hedge laying.”
Waterway adoptions give communities the chance to work together with our local teams and partnerships to shape the future of their waterways. At a hands-on level they are able to get involved in activities specific to their waterway, from recording and improving wildlife habitats or maintaining a local towpath, to helping run educational events or helping combat anti-social behaviour. For some groups, adopting a canal is also a social activity, allowing them space for social events and for meeting and mixing with their neighbours.