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Havelock to get Canal makeover

havelock_canalA one kilometre stretch of the Grand Union Canal in Southall is set for improvements, after a public vote triggered a £10,000 donation.

The money comes from Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative, in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, which awards the proceeds generated from the sale of carrier bags in stores to create or improve green spaces in communities. Customers of local stores were able to vote for one of three projects, which were then awarded £12,000, £10,000 or £8,000 depending on which got the most support.

The project is led by the Canal & River Trust – that charity that cares for the canal – in partnership with Ealing Council’s park ranger team, residents of the Havelock estate and Catalyst Gateway.

It will enable the organisations to improve hedgerows, towpath surfaces and access to the waterway along a one kilometre stretch from the Havelock Estate towards the famous Hanwell Flight.

Managing a hedge by regularly cutting it back encourages the trees to produce new growth and will greatly prolong their life. The revived bushy hedge can provide fantastic habitat for nesting birds as well as giving homes to hedgehogs and other wildlife. This helps maintain the canal’s vital importance as a wildlife corridor running through the heart of Southall.

Work will begin on January and is expected to completed by April. The Canal & River Trust is on the lookout for volunteers to help with the work, anyone interested should contact nadia.payne@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Nadia Payne, Canal & River Trust volunteer co-ordinator, said: “We’re so pleased to have been selected to benefit from the plastic bag funding, and can’t wait to get started on the project. We’re also on the lookout for people to help us carry out the work, so if you are interested, please get in touch. The canal is probably more well used than any time in living memory, and its improvements like this that are making all the difference.”

Nicola Wheeler, Havelock Neighbourhood Coordinator for Catalyst Gateway, said: “Catalyst is committed to helping the Grand Union Canal become a genuine asset to the Havelock and wider Southall neighbourhood, where anyone can go and enjoy green space and see some wildlife. We were delighted with the donation from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme and look forward to joining with our team of local volunteers and partners to get started on this phase of the project.”

For more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust, including volunteering opportunities, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk