Tuesday 4 June 2013

Guest Blog by Marie Millward of Dandelion Environment and Community

Sharing Feedback from Building the Social Economy through the Waterways Conference

Delegates from all over the UK came to east Leeds in March to a conference organised by Canal Connections with the National Community Boats Association (NCBA). The conference speakers provided inspiring examples of groundbreaking work, particularly on the canals in Scotland, in developing social enterprises on and around waterways. The event has proved to be a springboard for new ideas, new connections and the beginnings of new ways of structuring how we work on and around waterways.

Those of you who were there might have wondered what happened to all of the information added to the maps in the workshop sessions…

Our original intention was to add this information to an online map so that it could be shared and added to a 21st century plan for the waterfront in Leeds between the two museums at Armley Mills and Thwaite Mills Watermill. We decided to ditch that as a way of presenting the information because the suggestions were mostly not linked to a specific location or could be applied to the whole of the waterfront. In the end, a simple list seemed the best way to present and share the information. (Please see below).

Listing the information also helps us share the ideas offered by delegates who might not have been familiar with the waterways of Leeds, but had really valuable ideas and information to put forward on developing partnerships and setting up training initiatives.

Building the Social Economy through the Waterways – 19th March 2013

Information gathered on maps at workshop sessions

It was planned to add information gathered on maps to an online map to share. However, most of the information put forward was not specific to places on the Leeds waterfront, so we have decided to share it as a themed list of feedback instead.

Strategic Considerations
South side access to Leeds Station
Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme

Whole Waterfront Themes
Trip for the Arts Sector to explore opportunities
Celebrate former industries
Tidy up (whole water space and environs)
Signposts to destinations
Boat Clubs
Clay signage

Training Ideas
Two way street for management training and trainees
Training opportunities at Middleton and Armouries
Two way street for management training and trainees

Community Boat
Boat handling training
Skipper training
Boat masters Training
RYA Day skippers training
Office cleaning – basic office skills
Cooking and gardening
Wildlife tours
Family boat trips
Photography, pottery, spray can art, knitting and sewing - other arts and crafts
Support local community and groups with special needs
Work supporting recovering alcoholics
Minibus – transport to the canal could be an issue

Opportunities – Location based
Thwaite Mills / East Leeds waterfront        Woodworking Festival
                                                                        Fire Festival
                                                                        Spoon Festival
Leeds University Boat Club (Hunslet)
Sand barges (Hunslet/East Leeds)
Gravel transport (Hunslet/East Leeds)
Tower Works access
Raft Racing
Disused railway link to Holbeck
Armley Mills better access / security
Links to Cardigan Fields (leisure/retail park at Kirkstall)
Dunkirk Hill, Armley
Brewery Wharf – people leaving apartments
Kirkstall Valley Park plans
Knostrop Sewage Treatment Works
Boat Clubs
Clay signage

Opportunities – organisations and ideas
WYPolice                   funding from POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act)
use of police equipment – e.g. bikes
identify young people to take part in schemes
Diversionary projects to reduce anti-social behavior
Work with NEETs, improve school attendance

Yorkshire Water         Mentors
Skills – Practical/operational, project management, leadership, Networks of contractors/consultants/suppliers
Employment – training/apprenticeship/placements   
Expand “Surewater” or “Pugwash” projects

Water4Life                 water@leeds (a group of water research specialists at the University of Leeds)

Connect Housing
Cycling groups

Examples of Other Groups/Good Practice
SCAD http://www.scad.org.uk/
Bedford Link Association
Bedford and Milton Keynes Partnership

Thanks to everyone who shared ideas. In terms of what happens next - how should we continue the discussions, bring potential partners together, develop plans and projects for the future and harness some of the energy in the room to work out some next steps? Please get in touch if you would like be involved.

In the meantime you may be interested in the Waterways For Growth Film:



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