We are thrilled to be working with Lichfield & Hatherton Canals River Trust to enhance the experience of our NCS cohort of students pursuing their social action projects as part of the programme. Encouraging young people to engage with community projects around them, gives confidence and pride within the place in which they live.
Background information about the Charity:
Lichfield Canal Trust started in 1988. Christine Bull (Chairperson), Janice Greaves and Peter Buck (engineering director) launched a project to recreate the historic Gallows Wharf that were original historic features when the canal was built in 1797.
David Suchet (CBE) is the Vice president of the trust. He created an appeal called ‘Tunnel Vision’ to help raise money for essential tunnels and major crossings. He is hoping to raise £1,000,000 by April 2019.
The chair of the board, Christine Bull, is very eager to work and develop the project. She said she ‘can’t wait to see how it will look when it’s completed’.
NCS team developing their Social Action Project:
11 National Citizens Service (NCS) students are on their journey to help all the volunteers to create an amazing community project. They are all working hard together on the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust at Gallows Wharf project to rejuvenate this communal place whilst providing a peaceful place for people to enjoy.
Artist skills come into play:
The NCS Student’s got their artist gloves on and began designing and painting the wall of the canal tunnel for the Rose Queen using Mahl sticks to keep a steady hand. Establishing a creative theme whilst creating an eye-catching design was priority for the team. We spoke to one of the students working on this part of the project.
She said, ‘It is the first day working on the social action project, and I’m very excited to see what it looks like after our week here’.
NCS Wave Leader, Megan, was very supportive and enthusiastic. We asked her about the project.
"I believe that NCS is very beneficial to myself, the participants and the trust. One of the things that I enjoy about projects like this is working with a group of people that are of all ages."
Megan worked with the Team Mentor, Tyler, to monitor safety aspects whilst spurring the cohort on with the fantastic work they were delivering.
He said "Programmes such as NCS gives people the chance to invest time and work to help their community and enjoy it. It shows their motivation and gives them something to become passionate about and take pride in."
There are a whopping 40-50 permanent volunteers working together on the Lichfield in bloom project. The members of the trust are working 7 days a week to keep the project moving forward whilst the Trust has 2,000 members altogether and some reach as far as Australia.
There are people of all ages working on these projects; the oldest person, Mike McKie who’s aged 82 and the youngest, Sebastian, who’s aged 16.
The volunteers are driving work on the Lichfield In Boom project and within three months they have managed to complete Gallows Wharf and the flower beds. They have also started to create and construct stairs, to aid pathways to the project.
We spoke to one of the volunteers, Mike McKie (aged 82):
"I found that I got more involved due to exercise. I remember that in the war, when I was little, I had a bike and ever since then I loved exercise. I also got involved in other activities like this. Another one I was involved in was miniature railways. I like how everyone comes together to create something amazing."
Hugh Millington, the Lichfield sites manager, said:
"I heard about the programme and decided to come down and visit but, after about three months I started to get more involved with the project and the more I got involved the more it grew on me. I like seeing how it expands and develops. It starts of as something small and the development is kind of magical."
Hugh Millington seemed very happy to be involved with the project and pleased that the young people of NCS were just as keen to work on the project.
View all images from the project here.