Canal & River Trust awards grants to local charities

We are pleased to see that two charities with close connections to the Montgomery Canal have been awarded grants from the Canal & River Trust.

Thanks to donations from hundreds of people to the Canal & River Trust’s appeal to support small waterway-based charities, the Trust has been able to award £31,500 in grants shared across 43 local charities based on inland waterways in England and Wales. The Heulwen Trust in Welshpool and the Shropshire Union Flyboat Restoration Society, which looks after Saturn, the Shroppie Fly-Boat have both received awards.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, these charities, which provide vital support to some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country, have seen their income drastically reduce, putting the services that they offer at risk.

Sue Wilkinson, Canal & River Trust trustee and chair of the grants panel, said: “These very local charities do invaluable work – providing people with opportunities in life where, and when, it is needed the most – from helping tackle loneliness and dementia, to supporting disadvantaged children and young people in many different communities across the country.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed to the Waterways Charity Appeal. It is thanks to you that we have been able to give some support to a number of small charities at this very difficult time. The Trust is pleased to be able to match the personal contributions made.”

Added Michael Limbrey, Chairman of the Restore the Montgomery Canal! appeal:
“As well as the achievements over the years of reopening over half the once-derelict canal, the Montgomery Canal is notable for many voluntary activities along its length so we are delighted that two of them have received support from the Canal & River Trust’s emergency fund. The Shropshire Union Flyboat Restoration Society cares for the historic narrowboat ‘Saturn’ and when it is not touring the system calls the Montgomery Canal home. The Heulwen Trust was the first boat on our waterways to give a boating experience to vulnerable and less abled adults and children and has so far given over 70,000 free trips but its boats will not be able to leave the isolated Welshpool section until the link to the national network is restored.

“Elsewhere the Montgomery Canal visitors in normal times could take trips with the volunteer teams running the horse-drawn trip boat ‘Countess’ at Canal Central, Maesbury, and the ‘George Watson Buck’ at Llanymynech, the only trip boat crossing the border into Wales.

“Like so many volunteers these groups have lost the opportunity to raise the funds they need to keep going and face many uncertainties while the Coronavirus risk remains and they wait for the time when visitors will feel able to enjoy the unique experience that each has to offer.”

The appeal was supported by hundreds of donors with the Canal & River Trust match funding public donations – including Trust chief executive, Richard Parry, who donated 20% of his salary for the first three months of the year.