Waterways in progress can be a driving force for better social cohesion and provide a focal point for the entire community. An active restoration not only roots people to their past, but helps form a common bond by instilling collective pride in the place they live today, and brings community benefits along the way.
Hollingwood Hub stands alongside a lock on a five-mile restored length of the Chesterfield Canal, showcasing the restoration to all walkers and cyclists who stop here. Formerly a lock house, it was converted in 2010/11 thanks to a government grant of £385,000 under the Community Assets Programme and now boasts a coffee shop, a meeting and education room, a play and picnic area, shower and toilets.
The Hollingwood Hub site is owned by Derbyshire County Council, who supervised the renovation and construction, and it is run by the Chesterfield Canal Trust. It is conveniently located on the Chesterfield Canal towpath (which also forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail), attracting some 55,000 walkers and 30,000 cyclists each year, as well as anglers and canoeists. Many of them call at the Hub for coffee, for information about the canal or for volunteering opportunities. Meanwhile, the garden is being developed by local volunteers and school children. Benches, picnic tables and cycle racks have already made this an inviting area for all.