Groups share in funding to celebrate canal area

Boat taxis and trips, community food events and an outdoor classroom for children are just some of the innovative local projects to benefit from funding to bring the unique heritage of north Glasgow’s canal to life.

A selection of local groups and initiatives have been awarded a share of a £36,000 funding pot which helps the community explore and unlock the canal’s rich history and create exciting new activities across the area once Covid-19 restrictions have lifted.

The Heritage Project Fund, which supports and empowers the local community, is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund and overseen by the Glasgow Canal Co-operative on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

The Co-op received innovative proposals from across the community. Among those to benefit is:

  • Navvies’ Barge plan to use the funds to launch a free monthly boat bus service along Glasgow’s stretch of the canal and offer free boat trips for organisations and charities working in deprived areas nearby. The floating social enterprise, based at Applecross Basin, will also train volunteers to be qualified skippers, paint the barge in a traditional canal art style and transform the boat’s back room into a ‘history snug’ exploring the background of the waterway.
  • Hamiltonhill Family Learning Centre will receive funding to create an outdoor classroom for children and families in the Claypits Urban Nature Reserve, complete with an outdoor shelter, allowing families to continue exploring the nature and wildlife on their doorstep in north Glasgow.
  • Gathering Ground, a new social enterprise which runs food-focused events to bring the community together, will design and create a large set of hand-thrown crockery based on people’s ideas, memories and stories of the canal district. To be based at the renovated Old Basin House, Gathering Ground will work with the local community to help design the pieces, create the crockery and use it at a celebratory supper as well as events and workshops throughout the year.
  • Agile City plan to work with local people and organisations to collectively design and build an outdoor cooking and eating area near Civic House on Civic Street.
  • Part of Business Improvement District (BID) Possilpark, Saracen Street Traders will animate the bustling street with a new look and signage inspired by the canal.

Christine Kuhn, Glasgow Canal Co-op chair, said: “Glasgow’s canal is a truly special landscape with a unique history. This pot of funding will help empower people to help capture the strong cultural identity and sense of place that is engrained within communities lying along the edge of the canal, or for those that have lived in, worked near or enjoyed the canal over generations.

It’s fantastic to see such a breadth of projects put forward which put the canal’s heritage at the centre and will engage local communities, attract new visitors and help the continued regeneration of our area, from within. We can’t wait to see them come to life – it gives us lots to look forward after what will have been a tough time for all.”

Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm at Glasgow City Council, said: “These projects on Glasgow’s Canal and its banks will in the future be of great benefit to a whole range of people, making use of this treasured open space in the city.  Such schemes will continue the rebirth of the canal when they begin.”

Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an incredible power, bringing communities together to protect and celebrate the things that are important to them. The community spirit which we’ve seen across the country during lockdown has been inspiring. Once the restrictions are lifted, the people living alongside Glasgow’s canal will be able to take that spirit and breathe new life into their neighbourhood with the help of National Lottery funding.”

Catherine Topley, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals said “Like the city, Glasgow’s Canal has a proud and rich history. The area has seen a tremendous transformation in recent years, with people and community remaining at the heart of these changes to bring real benefits to the people of North Glasgow and beyond. This funding will allow even more people to experience, enjoy and celebrate the incredible environments and heritage Glasgow’s Canal has to offer. We would like to congratulate all the successful applicants, who we look forward to working alongside when it is safe to do so.”