A new project that aims to improve waterways in Castleford and create jobs has been launched by the town’s heritage trust.
The Castleford Rivers Stewardship Project (CRiSP) – run in partnership with the Environment Agency – aims to help maintain and improve the heritage and natural environment of the waterways through volunteering, training and employment opportunities.
The project was launched with a boat ride from Castleford Lock along the rivers Aire and Calder.
Alison Drake, chairman of Castleford Heritage Trust, said: “Looking after our waterways is important as we move forward with Wakefield Council’s housing growth strategy, to make the River Aire and River Calder in Castleford a corridor for housing development”.
The trust wants local businesses to get involved in the scheme and hopes to eventually work with Wakefield College to create waterways apprenticeships.
Mrs Drake added: “This is a great opportunity for people to get involved and take pride in our waterways.
“It also offers people the opportunity to learn new skills and possibly in the future provide much-needed apprenticeships.”
Representatives from various local businesses attended the launch event.
It is intended that training for the project will be based at Queen’s Mill, which is owned by Castleford Heritage Trust.
The Aire and Calder Navigation’s canal at Castleford dates from 1699, making it more than 100 years older than the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
However, Castleford’s waterways history goes back much farther as there is archaeological evidence of the Romans using river transport.
For more information or to get involved in the CRiSP Project, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01977 556741.