On Friday the 18th of April, PROjEN had a visit from Mrs Norma Hornby and three young members of the Canal Boat Adventure Project, a local Charity originally based on and still using the Bridgewater canal, which runs through Runcorn. The Canal Boat Adventure Project was established in 1976 and has been based in Hallwood Park Primary school for nearly 40 years. Originally the charity provided canal boats to youth groups and schools in areas of high deprivation across Halton, Cheshire and Merseyside.
The Canal Boat Adventure Project has its roots loaning out canal boats on the Bridgewater Canal and while they continue to run three canal boats, they are now able to offer far more. The direction of the Canal Boat Adventure Project changed in 2001 with funding severely restricted; seven young local people were offered the opportunity to restructure the project to meet the needs of the local community.
Not only did they save the Canal Boat Adventure Project, but also learned valuable life skills, with all seven now in full employment, three of whom are qualified teachers and one employed by a national charity.
Since 2001 this project has become an award-winning youth led social inclusion project, inspiring, motivating and providing opportunity to over two thousand young people from some of the most deprived communities. Many of the skills that PROjEN value most highly, such as, team work, commitment and engagement are promoted by the Canal Boat Adventure Project, with a strong emphasis on providing career skills and advice, with the ultimate aim of getting local young people into long term employment.
There are many opportunities that would not usually be open to the children, but are provided by the Canal Boat Adventure Project, including several trips abroad, such as; raising 30k to design and build the first children’s computer centre in Nkawiee, Ghana. Also a long term partnership with ‘Kids and Co.’ has allowed young people from Runcorn to visit East Berlin, explore Europe and to learn about differing cultures. Many of the ideas are developed by the young people, giving them the opportunity to really make a difference, such as the group that was awarded the NCVYS ‘Best Social Inclusion Project’ for developing a new initiative to help young women who suffer from mental illness.
The Canal Boat Adventure Project are now looking for a new dedicated long term home of their own and have decided to lease and renovate a disused ‘Woodlands Play Building’ and grounds in the Castlefields area of Runcorn. However they require both financial and in kind support to get this project moving and to realise their ambitions.
Fortunately for the Canal Boat Adventure Project, PROjEN specialise in Project Management and feel its well within our remit to assist on the project and to bring in some support from our collaborators, such as Clancy Consulting to help with the civil engineering and some assistance on their website from our external Marketing consultancy, Piranha Solutions.
With this combined effort, of PROjEN, our partners and other organisations. We expect to have the ‘Woodlands Play Building’ up and running as soon as possible to allow the Canal Boat Adventure Project to continue to serve the community from a new home.