John Muir Way & the Year of Young People 2018

The Year of Young People has now come to an end, so what better time to look back at some of the work we did throughout 2018 to engage with young people across Scotland.  The recent John Muir Way Youth Engagement report highlights lots of fantastic work being done by many organisations to engage young people in our natural and cultural heritage across the Way, from Helensburgh in the West to Dunbar in the East.  A fair stretch of the Way follows the course of the Forth & Clyde and Union canals, and so it provided the perfect setting for much of our work with young people in 2018, and will continue to this year and beyond! 

canal college®

canal college® is helping young people across Scotland learn the skills they need to unlock their full potential. On canal college young people learn practical and traditional heritage skills outdoors on Scotland’s canals. The 14 week programme helps them to build confidence, make friends and achieve. These programmes run in Inverness, Bowling and in the Falkirk area, which includes the John Muir Way. Participants work towards an SQA Level 2 Award in Cultural Heritage and an SQA Level 5 in Working Safely, while also gaining a variety of certificates including the John Muir Award.

Canal Paddle Pickups

This project was delivered in partnership with the BHive Activity Hub at Scottish Canals. We worked with young people from the Falkirk area along the stretch of the Forth & Clyde Canal between Bonnybridge and the Kelpies. Over an 8 week period we carried out canoe based litter picks to target the hard to reach places that we can’t access from the towpaths. The young people achieved the John Muir Award, Saltire Award for Volunteering and a Paddle Power Certificate. Over this time they collected 36 bags of litter, traffic cones, trollies and various other household objects.

Green Action

A twelve week training and development programme based on the Forth & Clyde Canal around the Falkirk Wheel area.  It is aimed at 16-24 year olds who are furthest from the jobs market, giving them the opportunity to learn practical outdoors and employability skills in a supportive environment.  By the end of the programme participants achieved an SCQF level 4 Employment in the Outdoors Award, an Emergency First Aid qualification, a John Muir Award and a Saltire Award.  They have also developed improved resilience, emotional and mental well-being, feel a stronger connection with their community and feel proud of the tangible improvements they have made outdoors in their community.

Easter Carmuirs

This project was run in partnership with Under the Trees, a local outdoor learning provider.  We worked with Easter Carmuirs Primary school in Camelon over several sessions around the Falkirk Wheel.  During this time the pupils learned about the natural and built history of the area and went on to undertake a conservation task on site at the Secret Garden woodland at the Wheel.  Altogether 21 Primary 6 pupils were involved who achieved the John Muir Award and a Heritage Hero Award from Archaeology Scotland.

Falkirk Canal Connections

Throughout the 2018 school summer holidays we worked with the Seagull Trust and Falkirk Council to offer days out and activities for local families and young people in Falkirk.  11 sessions took place, engaging with a total of 139 local people, including families from disadvantaged backgrounds, refugee groups and care-experienced young people. Each group enjoyed a cruise through the Falkirk Wheel and along the Union canal on the Seagull Trust’s Wooden Spoon canal boat and took part in a range of activities, including arts and crafts and wildlife watching.  Participants were given the chance to take part in an activity they may not usually have access to and were able to explore their local area from a different perspective and connect to their surrounding environment.  Taking part also gave participants the chance to spend quality time with their loved ones and take time away from the stresses of everyday life.