Cash crisis forces Falkirk-based Scottish Waterways Trust to fold

Flashback to 2015, showing Scottish Waterways Trust's first ever Canal College graduates at the Falkirk Wheel.
Flashback to 2015, showing Scottish Waterways Trust's first ever Canal College graduates at the Falkirk Wheel.

Scottish Waterways Trust (SWT), which was based in Falkirk, has finally been sunk by the cash problems it disclosed in March.

The amount of its liability is not known, and no announcement has been made about job losses.

SWT earlier confirmed “some” redundancies were imminent back in March, when it’s understood the office facility also closed.

Some of its activities are now being taken on by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, including plans for a Falkirk-based Canal College.

While it hasn’t been made clear whether a permanent base will go ahead at the canal-side former Barr’s plant, as originally intended, Falkirk is now one of three centres - with West Dunbartonshire and Inverness - to be involved in the scheme.

It aims to involve young people with the environment in ways that can improve their lives and potentially build careers.

In a final announcement on social media, SWT said: “our important canal college and Canal Heritage activities have found a new home with environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful.

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported us since 2000 in connecting people with the heritage, wildlife and green open spaces of our canals.

“We’re pleased that through Keep Scotland Beautiful, some of our innovative canal-based projects will continue to inspire people to get active, improve their health and mental wellbeing, employment prospects and community life”.

In a statement, Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “These projects, including canal college and Canal Heritage, focus on engaging communities with Scotland’s canals whilst protecting and enhancing a key part of Scotland’s cultural, environmental and industrial heritage”.

Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We are thrilled to be supporting these natural heritage and canal-based projects which are making a real difference to communities.

“Through our current range of activities, we aim to make Scotland clean, green and sustainable, and these projects are a welcome addition to our charity’s work.”

The charity says of the (free to join) Canal College scheme: “You’ll have the chance to learn some impressive skills, build your confidence and have fun outdoors.

“You can meet the team beforehand to find out if it’s the right opportunity for you.

“Once the programme is finished we can help you think about what you’d like to do next whether that’s getting a job, going to college or learning more through training or volunteering”.

The contact given for the Falkirk scheme is Charlie Lyons, who can be contacted by phone at 07849 628896 or by email at charlie.lyons@keepscotlandbeautiful.org