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News & Information from the Chairman

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Canal Bio-Diversity Project
C&RT owns the canal and towpath from Nob End Basin to Ringley Locks. Although in water, this stretch of the canal is blocked by reeds, shrubs, vegetation, fallen trees and silt. These limit the flow of water and the dense tree canopy above the canal creates brackish, poor water quality for wildlife, the local community and visitors to enjoy.

As the landowner, C&RT wants to apply for landfill tax funding for a community led project which will improve the quality of the water and biodiversity of habitat and species. This bid requires habitat and species surveys to be completed, third party matched funding to be raised along with details of the proposed improvement work. We need to help C&RT to identify sources of third party upfront funding of £15k for this grant application to be considered and be successful.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust has trained up the local Prestolee Primary School to conduct habitat and wildlife surveys along the canal on a regular basis from the autumn term. Bowness and Mytham Primary Schools also attended this survey training to prepare for a similar approach to help C&RT with other local stretches of the canal next year.

Stoneclough Community Centre adopted a one mile stretch of canal in April, and their monthly work parties on the third Saturday morning of each month is evidence for the bid that local community groups are already actively engaged in improving and maintaining bio-diversity. All are welcome to support this local community initiative to improve the canal towpath. We have been really impressed by the enthusiasm and number of local volunteers supporting these 3-hour events. They are continuing on the third Saturday, so add 20th October to the list. The drinks, biscuits and chocolate bars are an added attraction!

Art Installation Projects:
Arts Council Funding & “Bridging the Gap”
Following the successful Heritage and Arts Celebration Day last December, we made a funding application to build on this raised local community awareness about the canal. The “Awards for All” Lottery fund has awarded MB&BCS £10k to work with five local schools in 2019 and to hold a Celebration Day in June.

The “Bridging the Gap” project was drafted by Neil West (Bolton Council Education, Science & Technology Centre), and submitted by the Society. Neil’s detailed ideas on school involvement activities, timescales and planning for 2019 are being developed by the Society. Liam Curtin is advising us and the schools on the public art aspects of the initiative. Another successful project and local event should support an application to Arts Council for the Prestolee Lock plinths to become a permanent public art display location.

Work on the towpath between Radcliffe and Nob End is virtually complete. Work is expected to continue on the towpath between Nob End and Ringley in the summer.

Paul Hindle


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