Give us your time and we will turn that into the equivalent of £5m, KACT tells people in theregion’s ‘canal counties’
People living in the counties through which the Kennet and Avon Canal passes are being encouraged to give their time, skills and resources to help the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT) complete £5m worth of vital work needed to keep the waterway relevant and enjoyable for the millions of people who use and visit it every year. The KACT, which is 50 this year, is planning a number of major restoration and improvement projects along the canal between Reading and Bristol,but it needs the talents of residents living alongside it to make them happen.
Chairman designate of the KACT Council of Trustees, Rob Dean, says, “This is not a traditional call for funds whereby local people hand over their cash and then lose the connection between their donation and the end result. We want to harness the skills, talents and ability of all those living between Bristol in Avon, through to Somerset, Wiltshire, and onto Reading in Berkshire, to personalise their support for the Kennet and Avon by pledging their help in a number of key areas that will enable us to continue our vital role in promoting, enhancing and protecting the historic buildings and artefacts that line the 87-mile waterway.”
Every hour contributed by a KACT volunteer is equivalent to a £25 donation to the organisation, on average. Based on that figure, the KACT will need 40,000 hours of promised volunteer time in order to reach its £5m restoration target.
Volunteers will be directed to work on key projects local to them across the region. These range from redeveloping the KACT visitor centre at Newbury, Berks, restoring the historic Devizes Wharf building in Wiltshire, as well as large-scale, urgent, support for Crofton Pumping Station, near Marlborough and taking part in the redevelopment at Claverton Pumping station in Somerset with the Canal and River Trust; to create an education/visitor centre, a new car park and the setting up of a water taxi service to the site. Finally, there are plans to develop a visitor and education centre for the western entrance to the canal at Bristol.
Rob adds, “We are looking for reliable, flexible people who enjoy working as part of a team and who think they can add value, for example, either by organising people and things, or who have experience applying for grants. In return, we can offer them the chance to learn new skills and gain valuable, high-quality experience and training, make new friends and also create a lasting impact on one of the most historically important and stunning features of the UK’s landscape.”
To volunteer, see www.katrust.org.uk, and follow the instructions from the home page.