Canal College scoops award at Lowland Canals Volunteer Awards

Recognising hardworking volunteers the very first Lowland Canals Volunteer Awards took place at the Falkirk Wheel on Friday 24 May as part of an event to mark the formal opening of the Lowland Canal Carnival.

Celebrating individuals, businesses, charities and Scottish Canals staff for their valuable contribution to the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals. The inaugural Scottish Canals Volunteer Awards included accolades for charities, businesses and individuals.

The winners included the Canal College programme, a 14 week heritage employability project which has helped hundreds of young people in Edinburgh, Falkirk, Inverness and Bowling move into work, further education or earn accredited qualifications. These individuals have worked with Scottish Canals’ staff on stone masonry, archaeology, vegetation management and other routine maintenance tasks.  As part of the canal college project, participants also earn a range of awards including two SQA qualifications, the Heritage Heroes Award, Saltire Award and John Muir Award. 

And in the Canal Champion of the Year category, two of the three awards went to former participant and mentor Russell Beveridge and Kirstie Anslow, former participant and current mentor.

Russell attended Canal College between May and August 2018 and returned for two further programmes as a mentor.  Russell is now volunteering with Scottish Canals five days a week, working on stone masonry and developing his skills as a skipper on the Lochrin work boat.  Kirstie joined canal college at the same time as Russell and she has just begun her third programme as a mentor.  In addition, Kirstie has been a regular volunteer archivist at Scottish Canals’ heritage archives.

Charlie Lyons, Falkirk canal college Youth Outreach Worker, said: “I am delighted that canal college has been recognised at the inaugural awards.  The programme helps people to develop a wide range of life and work skills to help them along the road to employment.  Working outdoors in a stimulating, supportive environment helps participants build their self-confidence and resilience, develop new skills and gain real practical work experience.

“It is even more rewarding to see Russell and Kirstie, canal college stalwarts, being recognised for their own personal commitment to preserving and conserving the infrastructure and rich heritage of Scotland’s canals.

"We would like to congratulate Russell, Kirstie and all the others who were successful at the event.”

In May we took on two projects canal college and Canal cultural heritage, previously undertaken by Scottish Waterways Trust.

25 May 2019

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