canal college®, which is the Scottish Waterways Trust’s largest project to date, has been selected as a finalist in the National SURF Awards 2015 under the Employability Category.
The Awards, delivered each year by SURF, Scotland’s independent regeneration network, in partnership with the Scottish Government, recognise and reward best practice and innovation in community regeneration. For more than a decade, the SURF Awards have covered regeneration projects of all sizes from across Scotland.
canal college® was designed to help tackle unemployment amongst young people aged between 16 and 25 years living in Edinburgh and Falkirk, who have suffered setbacks in their life. Last month, the project was awarded a Scottish Heritage Angel Award, with young volunteers and their volunteer mentors recognised for their outstanding commitment to conserving Scotland’s unique canal and waterways heritage.
Between 2013 and 2015, 162 young people took part in the six 14-week canal college programmes in the Edinburgh and Falkirk areas. 116 of these achieved at least one positive destination as a result.
Over the coming weeks, the judging panel will be visiting all of these diverse projects to develop a better understanding of their impact and the contexts that they are operating in.
The six category winners will then be announced by the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice and Communities, Alex Neil MSP, on the evening of Thursday 10 December at the 2015 SURF Awards Presentation Dinner event in Glasgow’s Radisson Hotel.
The 2015 SURF Awards are delivered by SURF in partnership with the Scottish Government, with additional support from Architecture + Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, PAS, RTPI Scotland, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, and Skills Development Scotland. The Sunday Herald is the media partner.
Karen Moore, Scottish Waterways Trust Chief Executive, said:
“We are extremely proud that canal college has, once again, been recognised for its contribution towards youth employability in the canalside communities of Edinburgh and Falkirk. The 16-25 year old volunteers and volunteer mentors who took part in the programme have not only taken the vital first steps to creating a brighter future for themselves, but have also left a legacy for local people to enjoy. Their contribution to the conservation of Scotland’s historic waterways has been outstanding.”
Angus Harkness, past canal college participant and now Scottish Canals’ Apprentice Stonemason, said:
“I made the decision to move away when I heard about canal college. It was a brilliant decision. Learning about the history and heritage of the waterways was all new to me, but I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of practical work too, which I loved. It’s not every day you get to help repair a 200-year-old weir!”
Issued by: Joanna Harrison and Rose Henderson (Wednesday/Thursday)
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