To many of us during lock-down, the local canals provided an escape; a place to relax, exercise and connect with nature during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, we also saw a surge of rainbows appearing in windows and outside houses all across the country, as a tribute to the NHS and key workers. Inspired by this movement, in early May, a few Ashton-On-Ribble residents contacted Canal and River Trust with an idea on how to fuse the two together – by painting a canal bridge to look like a rainbow.
When the idea was proposed to Canal and River Trust, the charity immediately knew that it was something that they had to get involved with. After doing some checks with their heritage and environmental team (whom all agreed they could facilitate this kind and honorable gesture for the wider community), Canal and River Trust assembled a team of volunteers to help with the task at hand.
The painting of the bridge commenced on Wednesday 29th July (with the finishing touches being added on Friday 31st July) and was, in simple terms, a huge success. Not only did they manage to transform the weathered footbridge into a beautiful spectacle of colour, whilst maintaining the appropriate social distancing, but everyone managed to have a good time whilst doing it.
When I spoke to Angela Parkinson-Green, Area Operations Manager for The Lancaster Canal, she explained to me how this is just the start and that Canal and River Trust are very keen to get more people involved in similar projects.
She told me that the charity are actively encouraging for community groups and members of the public to come forwards with creative, innovative and fun ways to use the Lancaster Canal and surrounding green spaces, whilst improving the well-being of local residents.
Whether they are ideas for an art project, like the rainbow bridge, or possibly something more active, like: outdoor yoga; paddle-boarding or a nature trail, Canal and River Trust would love to hear your suggestions and to see if there is any way that they can support you in making your vision a reality.
Do you think that you have an idea for a canal/green-space centered activity? Get in touch with Canal and River Trust via email@example.com. They can’t wait to hear what you come up with!