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New wheelchair-friendly picnic area created at Saul Junction

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Wheelchair users and members of the public will be able to appreciate the benefits of spending time by water at Saul Junction with the creation of a new wheelchair-friendly picnic area.

Volunteers from the Canal & River Trust have spent eight months building the new area, which has been designed to provide space for up to four wheelchairs at the adapted tables, at the popular mid-point of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal.

Wheelchair picnic area Saul Junction 3 April 2024 3 | New wheelchair-friendly picnic area created at Saul Junction

The project was made possible thanks to funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and two local firms who donated materials. The Cullimore Group provided the hardcore and pre-mix concrete that makes up the foundations of the area, with Highfield Garden World contributing plants that have been planted in an old dinghy, gifted by the Cotswold Canal Trust, which has been split into two attractive planters.

Volunteers gave 1,335 hours of their time to care for Saul Junction in 2023, with a team of ten volunteers spending two days a week looking after the spot on the Green Flag-accredited waterway.

Wheelchair picnic area Saul Junction 3 April 2024 2 | New wheelchair-friendly picnic area created at Saul Junction

Malcolm Humphries, lead volunteer for Saul Junction at the Canal & River Trust said: “The new wheelchair-friendly picnic area is a great addition: we want everybody to be able to enjoy the benefits of spending time by the water. Our volunteers have done a fantastic job in building this accessible space which is sure to be a popular spot for visitors throughout the summer.

“We are grateful to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Cullimore Group and Highfield Garden World for their support. Without their contributions it would not have been possible to build this accessible space and, as a charity, we welcome the help of organisations who can support our work.

“Our volunteers do a wonderful job making Saul Junction a fantastic place to be. They look after mowing, strimming and the upkeep of planters, while picking up litter and maintaining a stretch of the canal from Fretherne Bridge towards Longney.”

The new picnic area follows previous support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery including the projects at Saul Junction that have included the creation of a wildlife pond to attract great crested newts, hedgerow work and towpath improvements.

A ceremony to officially open the picnic area will take place on Monday 8 April at 2pm with representatives from Cullimores and Highfields joining volunteers and colleagues from the Canal & River Trust.

For more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust, including how you can volunteer or donate money to support our work visit canalrivertrust.org.uk.

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