THE Telford Support Group, part of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust, has been awarded £95,000 from funding jointly provided by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and by DEFRA, through the Rural Payments Agency, towards the Thomas Telford @ Wappenshall Wharf project.
The grant is part of the Rural Development Programme for England 2014-2020 Growth Programme scheme covering ‘support for investments for public use in recreational infrastructure, tourist information and small scale tourism infrastructure’.
This award is specifically to fund most of the items interpreting the canal wharf and the Thomas Telford heritage. It effectively reduces the amount that the Trust needs to raise to complete the project. Telford Support Group Chairman and SNCT trustee Alan Harding commented: “This award will greatly improve our chances of obtaining the grants we need from other funding bodies.”
In early 2014 the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust launched an appeal to find match funding of £500,000 towards the cost of restoring the warehouses and basin at Wappenshall Wharf, North Telford, Shropshire. The total anticipated project cost was £1.5 million and the potential Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant comprises £1 million of this.
SNCT’s public appeal has so far resulted in pledges, donations and small grants totaling over £200,000. The success of the project now relies on obtaining three very large grants, including the EU grant, all of which we originally hoped to hear about during December 2016. This EU grant is the first of the three and brings the total raised so far to nearly £300,000.
The HLF had already extended the deadline for our Round 2 submission from December 2015 to November 2016. In view of the match funding situation they have now, very unusually and generously, given us a further extension to February 2017. This will enable SNCT to make the submission knowing the state of play with the other large grants.