Waterway Recovery Group Launches New Building Bridges Project

Waterway Recovery Group Launches New Building Bridges Project

23 October 2014

IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has launched the new Building Bridges Project.

The Building Bridges Project is a joint initiative by WRG and Canal & River Trust, which aims to enable volunteers to carry out minor, and some more major, repairs to canal bridges in desperate need of restoration, giving local people and communities the chance to come together and look after a structure on a section of canal or waterway.

WRG is encouraging local organisations such as community groups or residents' associations to undertake more technical restoration work along their local waterways. It is hoped WRG’s new leaflet ‘Building Bridges – A guide for volunteers carrying out restoration work on waterway bridges’ will help volunteer groups through the process, ensuring the work is well planned and that everyone has a safe and fun experience.

Richard Parry, Chief Executive of Canal & River Trust says ‘Our partnership with WRG makes a positive impact on both navigable waterways and those still under restoration. Since the launch of the Trust we have been developing new ways of working together, and have placed the role of volunteers at the centre of our approach. This document is a superb planning tool that will help both our own teams and the wider waterways community when working on more complex and ambitious projects.'

Volunteers can do many things to help preserve or restore a waterways bridge. In October 2014, local residents from Black Jack's Lock Residents Association were the first to take part in the Building Bridges Project, spending four days repointing Bridge 178 on the Grand Union Canal near Harefield. Volunteers also gave the lock gates and lock furniture a new coat of paint. Residents will return later in the year to repaint the bridge and restore it to its former glory. Photos of the project can be viewed on the WRG Website.

Miles Hendley, Chairman of the Residents Association said ‘We’ve been concerned at the state of the bridge and lock for some time but didn’t know how to go about restoring it. I then read about WRG volunteers restoring Lady Capel’s Bridge on the Grand Union Canal, near Watford and thought it was something the residents of Black Jacks could get involved in. Working with WRG and CRT has been a great experience – I can’t wait until we all get together again to repaint the bridge and complete the makeover!'

Find out more about the Building Bridges Project and how to get involved at the WRG website or contact WRG's Volunteers Coordinator, Jenny Black on 01494 783 453 ext 604 or at jenny.black@waterways.org.uk.

Photo: Black Jack's Lock Residents Association works with WRG and Canal & River Trust to carry out much needed repairs on Bridge 178 on the Grand Union Canal (photo by vetophotography)

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