A fundraising campaign has been launched by Scottish Waterways Trust after its outdoor classroom was burned down in May.
With the loss of a venue for skills workshops many of the courses the trust ran were unable to go ahead.
Now it is looking to raise £10,000 to develop a new hub through Crowdfunder. Members of the public and businesses will be able to donate money to the cause, as well as buy a number of items, including a rugby shirt signed by Russell.
The hub will be used to deliver the Trust’s employability programmes, helping disadvantaged young people in the area, and will be available for local community use.
Karen Moore, chief executive of Scottish Waterways Trust, said: “We were devastated when the outside classroom was deliberately set on fire. Rather than put up a temporary structure we decided to launch a fundraising campaign to develop a
waterways hub. By creating this space, we will be able to help more young people develop skills as well as teach more school age children about the history and nature of the canal.
“We will also be able to recruit more volunteers to help local people connect with, care for and benefit from the rich environment and heritage of Falkirk’s two historic canals on their doorstep.
Supporting the campaign, Russell, a former Falkirk RFC and current Glasgow Warriors player, said: “I had a great year playing rugby at Falkirk RFC and know first-hand just how tight-knit the local community is.
“To have a new waterways hub in Falkirk which can be used by locals and also to run programmes to get young people into work is a fantastic resource.”
The trust will apply for grant funding for the remainder of the budget to develop the hub.
To make a donation, log on to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/thewaterways-hub.