The UK’s canals and heroic Veterans are the winners in People’s Postcode Lottery’s ‘Dream Fund’. Leading charities Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes were delighted to receive the £500,000 award for their ‘Heritage Heroes’ project at a gala awards ceremony held last night (28 January) in Edinburgh.
Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes have come together for the first time with an ambitious plan to change the lives of ex-servicemen and women through a programme of canal restoration, transforming waterways across England in the process.
The project will train ex-servicemen or women with an accredited qualification as they recruit volunteers to help transform the waterways. Around 200,000 local people will be involved through events, walks, education programmes and other activities.
Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “The ‘Dream Fund’ gives organisations the opportunity to work on projects that they could only dream of. Heritage Heroes will make such a difference to the lives of so many and I am delighted that as a result of support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery that this dream can now become a reality.”
Richard Parry, chief executive at Canal & River Trust, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that this ambitious project has been chosen for People’s Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund. Working with veterans who have done so much to serve their nation, and with local volunteer groups, we will be restoring and renewing canals for the people and communities around them.
“The project will teach the ex-servicemen skills in land-based management and construction. Inspiring and working with volunteers they will be rebuilding locks, restoring canal-side hedgerows, making repairs to canal heritage and getting thousands of local people to connect with their local waterway.”
Susan Turnbull, head of career recovery at Help for Heroes, said: “Leaving the military and finding a new direction can be daunting especially for those who are living with life-changing injuries and illnesses. This project has afforded us the opportunity to help rebuild the lives of countless wounded injured and sick servicemen, women and veterans who remain highly skilled and motivated, whilst also restoring our forgotten canals.
“When an injury occurs to our servicemen and women, it can change their life instantly and, before they know it, what they thought would be a career for life has gone. Suddenly they are left with the feeling of “What next?” This project will give them not only a sense of purpose, but will help develop new skills that will set them on the path for a new and purposeful career. A recent study we commissioned revealed that at least 66,090 service personnel will need our support now or in the future. The People’s Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund has given us the chance to offer these wounded heroes renewed hope and we are extremely grateful.”