The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has been awarded £13,100 of National Lottery support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on heritage charities’ income.
The funds will be used to repair the leaks in sections of canal bed at Long Meadow, Drungewick, West Sussex, along with paying for the necessary equipment needed to make both the Canal Centre and boat trips at the Loxwood wharf Covid-safe.
The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. Some £50m has been made available to provide emergency funding across the heritage sector.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as the Wey & Arun Canal Trust during this uncertain time.”
Trust chairman Sally Schupke added: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now push on with completing the repairs at Long Meadow. We’re grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”
“The investment in PPE and safety screens has also meant passengers and crew can be confident they are safe when enjoying one of our boat trips this autumn.”
The canal at Long Meadow was drained late last year and a local specialist environmental consultancy was employed to move the thousands of fish living there to other parts of the canal. Since then investigations have been underway to locate the leaks – found to be in four separate sections – and quotes are being sought for relining.
The project has also involved desilting the canal and resurfacing 600m of towpath, along with erecting 650 metres of fencing.
At Loxwood, investment has been made in a Perspex protective screen installed at the cash desk, along with PPE and cleaning materials needed to protect visitors, passengers and volunteers.
Boat trips will run on Wednesdays and Sundays throughout September and October.