In recent months, around three times the usual number of locals have discovered or returned to the Canal as a place to improve their physical and mental wellbeing in nature, whether to exercise or simply enjoy the quiet spaces. Our local communities across Surrey and Hampshire really value the freely accessible and varied outdoor space that is right on our doorstep.
The canal not only has a rich history but is an important nature site, with the classification of a Site of Special Scientific Interest from Natural England. There is also a strong desire to improve the canal and help it develop as a leisure destination for individuals, clubs, families and nature enthusiasts to enjoy.
However, the future of the Canal is increasingly at risk as many local council budgets have become stretched – and that’s unlikely to change. Our fundraising projects provide the means by which we can continue to preserve the canal.
To make a donation to the Society to help with these projects, please click here.
The Society is busy with several ongoing projects, most of which are long term in their progress. Particular projects of interest include:
Kitty Replacement – based on an agreed outline specification, several builders have requested quotations for the fully electric replacement of Kitty. She will accommodate 12 passengers, have wheelchair access, WC and kitchenette. The project will be part-funded from current Basingstoke Canal Society (BCS) reserves, and the funding team are considering how to raise the remaining money through grants, sponsorship, donations, events. (See the update under Volunteers, where we are looking for help with fundraising). We will also be looking to fund and provide some electric points along the canal.
Information Boards – 15 new information boards are proposed to be installed during 2021 at locations along the length of the canal. Basingstoke Canal Authority (BCA) agreed to the locations and themes, and Greenhouse Graphics has now provided a quotation from which BCA can place an order. The procurement route of BCA placing the order with BCS providing the funds from project-specific fundraising offers the best value for money approach. The intention is to mock up the first board before the remaining boards to check and sign off. BCS is producing the text for each board and then signed off by BCA.
Online Museum – this project is to take the excellent archive material we have and put it on a digital platform. A test website will be populated on a segment by segment basis, reviewed internally by the project team, and open to members. The early stages of the project involve assessments on which material is to be digitised once access to the physical archive is possible.
Last 5 Miles walk – positive progress by our volunteer colleague working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Parish Councils to establish the route, land ownership and rights of way needed to establish a permanent path. A long term project is generating good support.
Holland Moorings – as already reported, the weekend Working Party have done a great job in providing extensive mooring facilities in Farnborough, with income going to the BCA. A few photos of the facility are below.