Falkirk ‘canal college’ volunteers up for Heritage Award

Falkirk ‘canal college’ volunteers up for Heritage Award

The efforts of the young volunteers or ‘Angels’ involved in the Scottish Waterways Trust canal college project are to be celebrated, as they go up for an award in the inaugural Scottish Heritage Angel Awards, for their work regarding Scotland’s waterways and canal heritage.

The 12-strong shortlist for the first ever Scottish Heritage Angel Awards, funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, has been announced today (24th August), highlighting a diverse range of voluntary activities and projects from across the country.

Commenting on the shortlist, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, said: “The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards recognise the work that volunteers and community groups alike, up and down the country, are undertaking to help contribute towards understanding, protecting and valuing our heritage, as an asset for all.

“This shortlist of heritage volunteers and groups reveals the diverse and vibrant cultural heritage that is held within communities across the country, whilst demonstrating the enduring commitment and work that is carried out by them on variety of worthy projects helping to highlight and celebrate Scotland’s wider historic environment.”

The volunteers involved with the Scottish Waterways Trust’s unique canal college project – a voluntary heritage skills training programme – have been shortlisted for an award in the category of Capacity Building for their work, which provided the 16-25 year old disadvantaged participants with a hands-on opportunity to learn and develop new skills.

The two-year canal college programme, running in both Falkirk and Edinburgh, saw 162 volunteers dedicate around 19,500 hours to explore and discover the heritage that Scotland’s waterways hold. Undertaking tasks in built, cultural and natural heritage, volunteers had the chance to gain new skills including the recording and conservation of canal-side structures, undertaking archaeological surveys and using traditional building methods such as stone carving and lime mortar.

As well as learning from the 24 volunteer mentors to develop practical transferrable skills they also discovered more about the history and heritage of Scotland’s canal network.

Karen Moore, Chief Executive, of Scottish Waterways Trust, said: “We are absolutely thrilled for the 162 young volunteers who took part in canal college over the past two years. Their achievement in being shortlisted in this exciting new awards programme is even more resounding given the significant challenges and barriers faced by many, which canal college has helped them to address.

“The 16-25 year olds all embarked on a remarkable personal and life changing journey and, alongside their volunteer mentors, poured some incredible effort into helping us sustain and celebrate the fantastic heritage of Scotland’s Lowland canals.

“Canal college was Scottish Waterways Trust’s largest project to date and it embodies everything we are working hard to achieve – a brighter future for people and communities across Scotland and for our precious waterways. For this reason, we’re doubly proud.

“Our young people are our heritage custodians of the future and we are delighted that in canal college, we were able to link our canals’ future with theirs.”

The winners across the five categories will be decided upon by a judging panel made up of Scottish broadcaster and writer, Sally Magnusson; Professor John Hume OBE, Chairman of Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland; Dr Peter Burman MBE, Vice Chair of Built Environment Forum Scotland; Harriet Eadie, Chief Executive of Volunteer Centre Edinburgh and Andrew Wright OBE, one of Scotland’s foremost conservation architects.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose charity, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, established the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards in 2014, said: “I offer huge congratulations to all those shortlisted for the inaugural Scottish Heritage Angel Awards, the variety is incredible and demonstrates just how much the individuals and communities in Scotland go above and beyond to preserve their heritage.”

This awards initiative, which recognises the positive impact that volunteers have on Scotland’s heritage, aligns well with the key underlying principles of Our Place in Time, the first Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland, which places a strong focus on supporting and enabling participation across the historic environment.

Shortlisted entrants have been invited to attend the first Scottish Heritage Angel Awards ceremony, hosted by Sally Magnusson, to be held at the Royal Lyceum Theatre on Monday 28th September, where the overall winner of each category will be announced.

To view the full details of the official shortlist for the inaugural Scottish Heritage  Angel Awards please visit www.scottishheritageangelawards.org.uk


Full shortlist for the 2015 Scottish Heritage Angel Awards

Investigating and Recording:

  • Friends of Glasgow Necropolis for the surveying and archiving of graves and monuments, Glasgow
  • The Joseph Thomson Group for the establishment of a heritage centre showcasing all aspects of local history and life, Dumfries and Galloway
  • Dean of Guild Court Plans Project Volunteer Group for the creation of a searchable resource for Dunfermline’s rich built heritage, Fife

Caring and Protecting:

  • Forres Heritage Trust for the restoration and bringing back into community use of two local historic landmarks, Nelson Tower and The Tolbooth, Moray
  • Sanday Archaeology Group for their work to preserve archaeological heritage, Orkney
  • Helmsdale Station Volunteers for the restoration of Helmsdale railway station buildings, Sutherland

Sharing and Celebrating:

  • Loch Lomond Steamship Company for their work on the Maid of the Loch – Loch Lomond’s paddle steamer and the Balloch Steam Slipway, West Dunbartonshire
  • Here We Are for the Our Houses: Their Stories project, Argyll
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Volunteers for their Scottish fire heritage project, South Lanarkshire and across Scotland


Capacity Building:

  • Hebridean Connections for the creation of an online resource charting local history and heritage, Outer Hebrides
  • Scottish Waterways Trust – Canals College for their canal and waterways heritage work, Falkirk
  • Save the Wemyss Ancient Cave Society for work on the six ancient sea caves which feature Pictish stone carvings, Fife


Lifetime Contribution to the Historic Environment:

  • The overall winner of this category will be announced during the awards ceremony in September.



Notes for editors

Scottish Heritage Angel Awards Categories

  1. Investigating and Recording Volunteer/community-based projects recording local history and heritage.
  2. Caring and Protecting Volunteer-led involvement in saving/restoring heritage sites and buildings
  3. Sharing and celebrating Volunteer-led projects promoting local history, architecture and archaeology
  4. Capacity Building Projects that demonstrate a sharing of specific skills with volunteers and volunteer community groups.
  5. Lifetime Contribution to the Historic Environment This category is to celebrate and recognise the work of individuals and the lifetime contribution that they have made to the wider benefit of Scotland’s historic environment.

About the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards

The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards are supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. The initiative is a partnership between the Foundation, the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Civic Trust, and Archaeology Scotland.

The first such awards in Scotland, the programme supports the delivery of the Historic Environment Strategy, Our Place in Time, with its strong emphasis on community participation in heritage.


Twitter: @ScotAngelAwards

About the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation was set up by Andrew in 1992 to promote the arts, culture and heritage for the public benefit; since inception Andrew has been the principle provider of funding for all its charitable activities.

In 2010, the Foundation embarked on an active grant giving programme and has now awarded grants of over £9m to support high quality training and personal development as well as other projects that make a real difference to enrich the quality of life both for individuals and within local communities.  Significant grants include £3.5m to Arts Educational Schools, London to create a state of the art professional theatre, £1m to The Architectural Heritage Fund, £1m to The Music in Secondary Schools Trust and over £350,000 annually to fund 30 performing arts scholarships for talented students in financial need.  The Foundation owns two important paintings, a Canaletto “Old Horse Guards from St James’s Park”, currently on exhibition at The Holburne Museum, Bath and a Stanley Spencer “The Garage” on exhibition at The Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, Berkshire.

In 2014, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation awarded 36 new grants to organisations, a third more than 2013, made 15 grants to projects in their second and third year of funding and provided 30 musical theatre scholarships to young performers on the brink of their careers.


Twitter:  @ALWFoundation

For further information on the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards, please contact:

Contact:     Grant Thomson, Communications Officer, Historic Scotland

Direct line:  0131 668 8603

Mobile:       07580 702 611

Email:        grant.thomson@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Issued:      24th August 2015

For further information on the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, please contact:

Contact:         Truda Spruyt and Hannah McMillan at Four Colman Getty

Direct line:     020 3697 4248 / 020 3697 4260

Email:             Truda.spruyt@fourcolmangetty.com