Partners gave short presentations to the meeting about what activities they had undertaken in G&BF since the KO meeting in May and/or what they planned to do in the initial stages of the project
South Tipperary County Council (STCC)
Work is continuing to develop a ‘Greenway’ along the River linked to cycle routes and Arts alongside the waterway. A seminar to take place to share this knowledge and help develop Youth training in traditional skills associated with the River and its surroundings/activities.
Stephane Ramu gave a powerpoint presentation explaining their work with 3 different social enterprises. Frederic Della Libera representing one of these ‘Ferme Delsamme’ described how this is working and the training, skills and social outcomes they expect to be delivered through their work.
Are working toward intensive cultivation and greenhousing in their social enterprise – trying to develop a market for spirulina. Feasibility studies are taking/to take place to assess the viability of this and what other produce they can grow or cultivate in their enterprises. They will make use of the river in the production infrastructure (as well as the land alongside it)
Karen talked about Canal College and how this was being structured and established to deliver canal based training and education through its courses. She described the emphasis placed on exploiting the interest and value placed on the waterways heritage – be it built, natural or cultural, the public consider it worthy of preservation. Canal College can provide an education to address these needs.
Jasper gave a presentation outlining the work being carried out by their organisation to establish social enterprises and the activities undertaken by workers in those enterprises – which are wide ranging from environmental e.g coppicing and the road crossings for toads(!) cf the work repairing boats, buildings etc along and on the waterways.
Canal Connections (currently observers)
Trevor Roberts explained the work that their social enterprise does, using the canal and their boat and volunteers to work with youths and unemployed people to increase their ‘life skills’ confidence and employability in future. This was a different type of enterprise to the ones other partners have seen before and a discussion was held to elicit more information about how it’s set up and how the trainees benefit from this approach to their personal development. Chris Barnett added that we are looking at the possibilities of adding Canal Connections formally to the project given their evident expertise and the complementarity they could bring to the project.
Canal & River Trust (CRT)
Chris Bailey gave a presentation on local activities involving volunteers to deliver environmental improvements along the Caldon Canal in partnership with the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP). This was followed by a presentation by Keith Tomkins of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust who are heading up CVLLP. Keith explained the type of works being carried out, how they’re working with CRT and what benefits the volunteers are getting from their involvement. The site visit the next day was a chance to see some of the work carried out and future sites for improvement.