Injured servicemen and women are being given the opportunity to re-build their lives, gain qualifications and learn new skills by transforming and restoring the historic Pocklington Canal.
The Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes have come together for the first time to deliver an ambitious canal restoration and career recovery programme for wounded, injured or sick servicemen, women and veterans.
Up to 60 veterans, from across the country, will join the Heritage Heroes project and work alongside local canal societies and Canal & River Trust engineers and heritage advisors to transform four forgotten canals. The 18-month project will also see 1,000 new volunteers recruited from nearby local communities.
The project, made possible by £500,000 funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, aims to bring pride and purpose back to heroic veterans while restoring canals, some of which have been left neglected for decades.
The Heritage Heroes project will equip the wounded, injured or sick heroes with City and Guilds qualifications in construction, health and safety, horticulture and land-based management which can be used to help them identify a new, purposeful career.
April Britton, Training and Development Manager at Help for Heroes’ Recovery Centre in Catterick, said: “Leaving the military or realising that your career choice may no longer be possible can be daunting, especially for those who are living with life-changing injuries and illnesses.
“Working towards a new goal in life through career recovery can be extremely beneficial to an individual’s overall wellbeing, often accelerating their personal recovery journey.”
Paul Waddington, Chairman of Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, said: “We are delighted to have the assistance of Help for Heroes at the Pocklington Canal.
“I’m sure that the veterans will be a great help in progressing the works at Thornton and Walbut Locks.
“If it helps them to rebuild their lives and to find new careers that is better still.”