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What is the Angling Improvement Fund? Find out more about how the Fund works and who benefits

Round 1 Fund Winning Projects: 2015/16

Judging Criteria - Round 1:
The scheme was very popular and regrettably many deserving projects could not be funded in this first round. In making the awards, the judging panel chose projects whose completion would support a wide variety of themes in the National Angling Strategy, as well as offering significant new opportunities to go fishing. All of the funded projects involve a significant financial or in-kind (volunteer time or donated materials) contribution made by the club or fishery itself. Future rounds of the Fund are likely to be ‘themed’ to support particular areas of need in angling.

Round 1 Award Winners:

Penketh & Old Hall Angling Society

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The improved facilities will enable the club to increase the community partners it can work with, including schools
The award made to Penketh & Old Hall Angling Society will allow the club to complete the improvement of Brownlee's Pool near Warrington by replacing dilapidated wooden deck structures with more accessible and durable hard standing. The improved facilities will enable the club to increase the community partners it can work with, including schools.

Paul Bryan, Club Secretary - POHAS said: "The fishery improvement work has been completed and is already being used by members and groups we have as guests. Everyone we have seen and/or spoken to thinks it looks great and more importantly gives more space for more anglers to fish, as well as enhancing the local area for the residents who live nearby who pass through the area via the public footpath. We have local schools using the facilities as well as local NHS services and this allows them to offer additional spaces to their groups. "We couldn't have got this work done without the support from the Fishery Improvement Fund, and now it is completed we can continue to extend our services and in time, offer more coaching".

Kings Lynn Angling Association Ltd

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Kings Lynn AA replaced dilapidated fishing platforms with large, safe and durable hard-standing areas which allow families to fish together safely and provide a better coaching facility
Bear Lake is part of KLAA's popular Shepherd's Port complex, situated close to the coast in an area popular with tourists. Funding will be used to replace the present dilapidated wooden swims with large, safe and durable hard-standing areas, which have proved popular at other locations. Once in place the club will organise regular coaching events to make the most of the new facilities.

Ashley Brown, Secretary of King's Lynn AA Ltd writes: "A platform which was hard to fish from and a potential safety risk, was transformed to a larger safer swim which will help our older anglers who are not disabled but not so steady on there feet. The swims are now larger so we hope this will encourage more father sons or daughters to be able to fish together - something we could not offer on this lake previously. We plan on using this lake for coaching events starting with our first one during national fishing month. Although not finished members' feedback has been positive and they can now see something that their rod licence has gone towards."

Wandle Piscators

A new disabled fishing platform will be installed here at Cannon Hill Lake
With the installation of the new angling platforms, Cannon Hill Lake will become the first fishery in the London Borough of Merton to support disabled anglers. The club will also be planting oxygenating weed and repairing existing floating reed beds to increase the fishery's resilience to summer algal blooms.

Will Tall, Cannon Hill Common Lake Manager for The Wandle Piscators describes progress: "We have used the Fisheries Improvement Fund to repair/replant six floating reed-bed islands, plant out 60 native water lilies and 500 bunches of oxygenating weed in the lake and replant 10m of the lakes marginal shelf with flag irises, reed mace, marsh marigold and water mint. We have also purchased the materials to build three disabled angling platforms (work due to begin 30 May), a launching trolley for the club's work boat and a petrol driven brush cutter which will be used to cut back the vegetation along the lake's South bank edge in late July.

The Tring Anglers

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The club purchased a secure metal shed for the permanent storage of fishing and maintenance equipment
Tring Anglers fish 13 miles of the Grand Union canal close to Hemel Hempstead, Aylesbury and Dunstable. Storage of club equipment had become an acute problem when an existing storage arrangement came to an end. Using their award, the club have purchased a secure metal shed for the permanent storage of fishing and maintenance equipment. The club will also intend to replace their present worn-out gazebo with a commercial quality item which will bring a professional look to club events.

The club have secured other grants and support from local organisations to complement their award. Tring Anglers estimate that club events introduce more than 100 people of all ages into angling each year, with a substantial proportion going on to become members of the club.

Dick Pilkinton from The Tring Anglers says: "We need to install the shelves and hooks plus the lighting, but the new shed is now dry and secure. The club would like to thank Tring Park Cricket club for providing the plot and Angling Trust for the grant enabling us to purchase the shed. We have now transferred our event stuff from peoples garages and porches to a proper home".

Kidderminster & District Angling Association

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One of the KDAA's new coaching pegs with a large platform on the River Severn at Bewdley
Once a prized fishery, the pegs on the Winnals 'Section A' of the River Severn at Bewdley are overgrown and practically unfishable. KDAA intend to clear the pegs with a massive volunteer effort and requested support through the Fund for materials to build 30 quality platforms and lay hard standing suitable for parking.  The club's efforts to restore the section have created considerable local interest and it is estimated will generate 600 additional fishing trips every year.

Steve Rowen of KDAA reports: "We have made a good start on the project to open the Winnals stretch of the River Severn, clearing the car park and making a start on the majority of pegs. One of the coaching pegs with a large platform was actually finished yesterday and the club aims to have another 7 platforms including 1 disabled peg erected before the season commences, and 15 of the 30 pegs open by June 16th. The work has been hard and all completed by volunteers. The money granted by the Fishery Improvement fund has greatly assisted in making all this possible."

Hutton Rudby Fly Fishing Club

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Underwater fish cover features were constructed from trees cut down to let more light into the river - this will encourage insect life
Hutton Rudby Fly Fishing Club will use their award for habitat improvements on the Junior Section of the River Leven near Middlesbrough, including commissioning specialist advice from The Tees Rivers Trust, together with materials and equipment. The club also plans to offer free fishing sessions on local lakes to local school pupils as part of their 'Increasing Junior Membership' project.

John Gifford, of HRFFC says: "Substantial progress has been made on the three parts of the project, Increasing Junior Membership, which has been funded by the Angling Trust Fisheries Improvement Fund. Ten pull-rope aids have been installed along the Club's whole stretch of river to make access to the river easier where the banks are high and steep. The work by the Tees Rivers Trust to improve the river habitat along the Junior Section of river started on 18th May. Where the river bank had been eroded by the out flow from a tributary beck it has been reinforced with brushwood and wired logs so as to also provide cover for fish. Underwater fish cover features have also been constructed from the trunks of trees cut down to let more light into the river to encourage insect life. This work, together with the construction of a simple fish pass at an existing weir is expected to be complete by the end of the first week in June.

There has been a very successful first fishing tuition day for local scouts and schoolchildren on 24th May at Ayton stillwater. This is a joint venture between Ayton Angling Association and Hutton Rudby Fly Fishing Club. with the support of the Angling Trust. Ayton stillwater, where the event was held, is an excellent fishery with two connected lakes where a lot of work has been done to provide safe and easy access for all anglers and specially for disabled anglers. Twelve youngsters from local schools and Scout troops attended the event and were given one to one tuition in fly casting, fishing and fly tying by the Angling Trust's Jeff Metcalfe and Ayton and Hutton Rudby club members. They were keen learners and this produced excellent results: six caught fish and all learned the elements of good casting. It was noticed that the girls' and boys' performances in both casting and catching fish were equal. Another tuition day is planned on the Ayton stillwater on 31st May followed by two days of river fly fishing tuition on the River Leven in June."

Deeping St James Angling Club

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The club has erected otter-proof fencing and gates and has improved its parking
Over the last 5 years the club has made significant improvements to Horseshoe Lake, including much restocking. However losses from otter predation had reached a point where fishing was becoming unsustainable. With its award from the Fund the club has erected otter-proof fencing and gates and made improvements to ground conditions for improved parking.

Ray Torrington, from Deeping St James Angling Club gives us an update on progress: "It was fortunate that the Angling Trust announced the fishery improvement fund at just the right moment. The club committee also made an unprecedented decision to write to all its members to ask for donations to the project. We were delighted at the response and were able to raise over £5000 towards the cost. With the confirmation of winning an award from the Angling Trust the club were in a position to purchase all the materials needed to erect the fence. It is with pleasure that I can confirm that the fence is now in place, which gives great peace of mind to the club's members. The club can now continue with on-going improvements to the lake and looks forward to more anglers enjoying this superb fishery."

Bishop's Stortford & District Angling Society

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Chalk treatment helped reverse the decline in catches at Malcolm Barker lake
The Malcolm Barker Lake at Bishop's Stortford was once a good tench water. Sadly the population has been hit hard by the category 2 parasite Ergasilus sieboldi and declining catches have affected the club's membership. To help reverse this decline, the club requested financial support from the Fund to implement recommendations made by professional fisheries consultants. These include the installation of aerators, chalk treatment, the removal of a rapidly expanding pike population and restocking of the lake with tench and bream from authorised suppliers. The venue is an attractive proposition for anglers of all ages and abilities, with good parking, a toilet, and flat and even swims, including two suitable for disabled anglers.
Clive Costema, Fishery Manager of BSDAS reports that the removal of 22 pike to 13lbs and application of ultra fine chalk has been completed. 50lbs of bream from 2lb to 3.5lbs (18 fish) have been stocked and in the near future 175lbs of tench will also be introduced. The Society has also purchased an aerator and a generator.

Clive Costema said: "The Society will keep records of catches reported, numbers of anglers, carry out an exercise to control the growth of lily pads, do water quality checks and ensure day to day maintenance of the fishery." He adds: "Bishop's Stortford is a fast growing town and the Society is making it known that there is angling facilities on the doorstep. "I am sure my Secretary has sent our thanks for the grant but once again "Thank You"

Mere Lane Fishing Academy

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Specialised frames were purchased to enable those with limited use of upper limbs to fish independently
Two new lakes are being constructed at Mere Lane, near Preston, to provide safe, accessible facilities for regular Saturday junior sessions, for scout groups and for patients visiting the fishery from the Spinal Injuries Centre at Southport Hospital and as an integral part of rehabilitation programmes. The Academy's award will contribute to the cost of 8 disabled pegs, disabled toilet facilities and specialised frames to enable those with limited use of upper limbs to fish independently.

Glenys Thompson tells us: "I am pleased to report that we have taken delivery of our new disabled portaloo and have also purchased 4 specialised frames for use by disabled anglers in wheelchairs. We have also sown the grass seed around our two new lakes and it is growing well (a little warm weather would speed this process up a little!). Once the grass is established then the building of the disabled pegs will commence. Hopefully in the next 2 to 3 weeks".

Southlake Angling Society

This project at Redlands School Pond just outside Reading city centre will open up coarse fishing to young people and families in the area at an affordable price. The Award will help to fund nine recycled plastic fishing platforms, 5 solar aerators and fishing equipment suitable for beginners. The club will be promoting the facilities through its website, social media and via links to local tackle shops, schools and clubs.

An enormous amount of work has taken place to transform the fishery from what was until very recently a 'wilderness'.  Simon Stobie reports that: "The work is now 99% complete and it's looking good down there! The new platforms are in place and the aerators will be up and running by this weekend. All being well the lake will be ready to open at the start of June". The club is looking to put up some of its members as Angling Trust Volunteer Champions.

Heronbrook Fisheries

Heronbrook Fisheries in Staffordshire has encouraged and provided schools with activity days for the past 20 years, and is also used by the Neuro-Psychiatry Unit at Stoke as part of its therapy programme. The Fishery Improvement Fund award will contribute to a much larger project to de-silt the Island Pool, repair eroded banks and complete 20 new fully accessible concrete pegs. As a result of the works the Pool will become an ideal venue for school groups and those new to fishing, and is expected to deliver several thousand new fishing opportunities each year. Until now, anglers had had to walk several hundred meters to a group of 12 pegs, putting them effectively out of reach of all but the most determined anglers. Part of the award will be used to build a bridge, bringing these particularly spacious pegs 'on-line' for less mobile anglers.

The bridge is now in place and according to owner Neil Dale: "...has made a vast difference to anyone who wanted to fish there and had mobility problems".

The major de-silting and bank stabilisation project is 60% complete and the fishery has recently received a generous donation of 1,500 tonnes of clay from a local firm to line banks.

Makins Fishery

Makins Fishery, near Nuneaton will use their award to increase the number of accessible pegs on Lake 1, giving disabled anglers the chance to draw pegs currently restricted to more able-bodied anglers. The project will be delivered using the centre's own staff and volunteers, including regular open match fishermen and season ticket holders. The fishery has invested in an ongoing programme of access improvements including 2 toilet blocks with disabled facilities and an accessible café and tackle shop.

Work is progressing well. Alan McDiarmid reports: "The Fishery has concreted-in 17 pegs so far and has reinforced the bank for another 6 or 7. The pathways to pegs have also been graded to allow wheelchair access. This work, which has taken around 3 weeks, has benefitted from the help of several volunteers and free machine hire. Even though the pegs are not finished we have had noticeably more anglers using the pegs on the side of the lake we have concreted, they appear to like the larger pegs even though it is on the end of the lake that fishes hardest for carp. We have also had 2 anglers in wheelchairs fishing the new pegs and they have appreciated being able to fish this bigger lake."

The Taw Fishing Club

Taw Fishing Club owns some 3 miles of trout water on the Upper Taw in Mid Devon. Despite attempts to recruit new members, the club has an ageing membership and for many, access to the river, scaling overgrown banks typically 8-10 feet in height, is extremely difficult. With support from the Fund, TFC will complete a project to build and install a series of robust, galvanised steel ladders down to the water. The work will transform the access to the water and generate new fishing visits by existing members and guests, and will allow the club to offer fishing days to charities supporting the physical and mental recovery of service personnel.

Nick Payne told us: "The club has begun groundwork to clear undergrowth ready for the installation of 3 ladders. This follows a survey of the river to determine the number and position of ladders required, and the production of a detailed specification and timetable agreed with the project engineer."

Updates on the following funded projects will follow at a later date:

Bridgwater Angling Association
Bridgwater AA will be using their award to restock their water at Combwich in Somerset following devastating otter predation at the lake. Money will also be used to install and plumb new a new toilet, helping to make the fishery more attractive and accessible for disabled anglers and families.

Get Hooked on Fishing (Bedfordshire)
With its award, the charity Get Hooked on Fishing plan to enlarge two existing fishing platforms, install two additional ones and improve pathways at its new project site at Swiss Garden in Biggleswade. It is anticipated that the project, delivered in partnership, will have a particular impact on participation by young people, families, older people and those with a variety of limiting disabilities.  

Milton Keynes Angling Association
This project is nothing less than the creation of a brand new fishing venue. MKAA - a Clubmark club - already runs a strong junior focused programme and would like to promote family fishing opportunities at the Ashland's Lakes water situated a short distance from Milton Keynes centre. Through the Fund, the club has requested a grant for the purchase of fish stocks. Once established the venue will be accessible to the local community via day tickets and also available to those enrolling on MKAA's Let's Fish programmes.

St. Chads Fishing Club
The club has a cormorant predation problem at their water in Draycott, Derbyshire, resulting in poor catch rates in 2013 that threatened the viability of the lake as an inexpensive local venue. Following the advice of the Angling Trust's Fishery Management Advisor, the club requested a grant from the Fund to construct 10 fish refuges and to restock the lake with carp.

Note: At the time that this content was written, and quotes were provided from Fund winners the Angling Improvement Fund was known as the "Fishery Improvement Fund"

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