New Welfare unit

We are pleased to announce the receipt of a £9,550 grant from National Lottery to provide better facilities for our volunteers, who can now relax from their restoration work in more comfortable surroundings since they received the new welfare unit. The money, from the Awards for All programme, has provided a new base for volunteers working on the popular stretch at Pewsham Locks, near Chippenham. The unit features a crew room, kitchen, washing area, toilets and storage, with plans to install solar power and a rainwater harvesting system. It replaces a caravan which was too small to cope with the growing number of people wanting to join local workparties.

Dave Maloney, chair of the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the Trust, said: “We are very grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for their generous grant. Our old caravan served us well for many years, providing somewhere dry and warm for volunteers to take a break, but it was no longer fit for purpose. The lockdowns encouraged a greater appreciation of local green spaces and the importance of fresh air and exercise, which resulted in a surge in support for our local workparties. It soon became clear that we needed more room for our volunteers to shelter from the weather and relax during a tea beak; we also needed more room for the extra equipment which was being used. The new welfare unit provides much better facilities, for more people, and will hopefully encourage others to join our campaign to bring this wonderful waterway back to life.”

The Pewsham stretch already features a mile of restored canal and towpath, together with a wharf and bridge. Volunteers have also started to rebuild a dry dock and there are longer-term plans to restore the flight of locks too. Workparties take place throughout the week and at weekends. Email or visit