River project wins Royal seal of approval

The work of the CATCA volunteers has made a big difference
The work of the CATCA volunteers has made a big difference

The tireless work of a group of dedicated volunteers has been given the Royal seal of approval.

Members of the Communities Along the Carron Association are celebrating this week after being told they are to be presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Established in 2010 to tackle concerns from neighbours about the state of the River Carron, CATCA is one of just 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups this year to be honoured with the highest award such organisations in the UK can receive.

It will be presented with the prestigious prize from the Lord Lieutenant of Falkirk and Stirling, Marjory McLachlan, later this summer.

Since 2011, CATCA has recruited the help of over 3000 volunteers to clear 17 miles of the river and its tributaries of scrap metal, log jams and rubbish, and transformed the water quality to allow fish to return after an absence of two centuries.

At the start it identified 31 potential projects to improve the environment and regenerate 16 communities and worked with fundraisers, stakeholders and Falkirk Council to prioritise the list and deliver change.

Now the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises its outstanding work.

Delighted Christine Bell, CATCA project co-ordinator, said: “It is an honour and recognises the incredible contribution volunteers all along the River Carron make to enhance the local environment by improving water quality, reducing litter and fly-tipping, working with schools so they can use the river as an inspiration for learning and much more.

“This prestigious award is for all the volunteers who make it happen day in, day out and continue to put the work of CATCA and our mission on the River Carron on the map.”

The awards were established in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Chair of the judging panel Sir Martyn Lewis said: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work.”