Wirral Autistic Society

Autism Together formally Wirral Autistic Society have their own narrow boat “The Raby Enterprise”. Service users access the narrow boat five days per week throughout the year. During this time service users are encouraged to become involved in ongoing projects and tasks along the two paths such as: Helmsman Training, Navigation Awards and John Muir Environmental Awards.

The past four years we have also been involved in the Canal and River Trust Adoption Programme around the Beeston and Tatton Hall area. This has been ideal for service users as it gives them a sense of wellbeing, promotes their confidence and independence and makes a positive change to the environment. Main tasks completed along the tow paths by service users have been litter picking walks, painting and the upkeep of sign posts and trimming around ring ties so they are more visible to oncoming boats.

One of the main environmental projects in 2014 in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust was working with Chester zoo to reintroduce one of the ten rarest moth species in Britain. As part of the narrowboat adoption programme, the Trust asked our group to assist along the tow paths. We have adopted the task of planting barberry plants (berberis vulgaris) which will help save a native endangered species.

The narrowboat group assisted in the planting project along the tow paths at Tatton Hall.

Plants were planted, three every one hundred metres, by the service users which will hopefully assist in the moth population using the canal network as a wildlife corridor. This has also assisted in preserving plants and wildlife habitats along the tow paths. Hopefully future projects working with the Canal and River Trust will include gravelling pathways and painting locks around our adopted areas.

They have managed to contribute over 2200 hours in volunteering during their time with us at the Trust.

Keith Saunders