All partners attended this meeting and each began by updating the group on their progress.
Stéphane gave a Powerpoint presentation about progress on their projects. Delsamme and Forestaille pilots are going well. Charleroi is being set up from scratch.
Scotland Waterway Trust
First intake are now being recruited. Canal College with University College course (tourism). This will lead to Certificate of Work Readiness (which is a good template for G&BF). Courses are taking place at Edinburgh and Falkirk;
- Edinburgh - major landscaping, entrance to canal improvements
- Falkirk – Excavating lock flight so real physical work
Radio Scotland interviewed Karen/Alan. Articles in Falkirk / Edinburgh Herald plus newsletters are being distributed.
South Tipperary County Council
Stakeholder groups working well / work to involve Community Groups going on. Courses of Fourteen weeks taking place and 4 x per year.
Several actions are underway
- Nature maintenance.
- Maintenance of provincial green spaces (willow cutting, coppicing, etc.) This is labour intensive so ideal for the social economy to deliver
- ‘Seed from here’ (local seeds better adapts to local climate) so setting up network to understand local seeds / horticulture issues.
- School / learning for disadvantaged, less able students – not widely used, so larger concentration on the plants from seeds initiative. Looking for how to favour these schools instead of ‘normal’ market.
- A real interest and focus on volunteer (after Lichfield meeting). Now waiting to make more ‘professional’ use of volunteers – Frog crossings is an early initiative. Volunteers use buckets to help them across the roads. Sounds an unlikely thing but it has led to contests between communities league table etc. Amphibian in greater numbers now as well now so good environmental / ecological benefits.
- Green maintenance in neighbourhoods.
Spirulene study – tenders out for various bits of this work, but starting late April. Meanwhile using time to set up structure and carry out communication activities.
Appointing a Social Economic Officer so this should help with their involvement in the project. Helix development was explained and the setting up of social enterprises in the site forming the Social Enterprise Zone. Scotland will host the steering group meeting (in June 14) around the formal launch of the site and partners will then be able to see live examples of these enterprises.
Canal & River Trust
Update covered volunteering work plus the route to achieving accredited training that participants will receive. Discussion around the benefits for other partners introducing such schemes and GBF development of a European standard qualification (CRT/CWT/Scot Canals to lead on this)
Updated about their work (with disadvantaged and outside of usual schooling students)– Agreed to formally approach JTS about adding them to the project.
Other items on the agenda included monitoring and evaluation of the pilots, use of the Brighton Study, and communications issues. Hainaut gave a presentation Training & skills needs of beneficiaries groups and how they might be delivered and there was a discussion around this.
At the end of the day there was a visit to the old canal at Strépy. The next day saw a visit to Hainaut's site at Ferme Forestaille.