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

Round 4 Fund Winning Projects: 2015/16

4(a): Community Waters projects

Abbey Lake Environmental Project, Abbey Lake Angling Club, Cirencester, Gloucs.

Abbey Lake AC has offered fishing on Abbey Lake in the middle of Cirencester (a public water controlled by the Town Council) for over 25 years and this year became Fishmark accredited. Cheap season tickets are available to adults and children and the club runs free weekly coaching sessions for kids during the summer. The AIF-funded improvement works include the planting of floating islands, installation of a notice board and re-instatement of swims and will be overseen by the Council, which is also contributing financially to the project. In July the lake will host a ‘Let’s Go Family Fishing’ day, and forms part of Cirencester Town Council’s Love Parks Week.
Janet Savage of Abbey Lake AC said: “The club is very grateful for this award which will hopefully encourage more anglers of all ages to fish our beautiful & accessible lake."

Abbey Lake
The AIF will fund access and habitat improvements at the lake.

Bracknell Town Council, Berkshire

Braybrooke Community Nature and Fishing Club is a brand new club for the community of Bracknell whose main ethos is to make fishing truly available to all and to help people understand the connection between angling and the environment. To this end a lot of thought has gone into improvements that will make the water safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities.  The AIF award will be used to build 6 wheelchair accessible platforms and create a new fishing area, for tree work and to purchase a central store of fishing equipment for use by new families/juniors. The project has close support from Bracknell Town Council who will making a large contribution to labour costs, specialist plant hire and use a of tree surgeon. The project also benefits from substantial volunteer effort, including that of a Volunteer Angling Champion. A series of coaching events are planned throughout the summer months aimed at attracting new people into angling.

Bracknell TC
Braybrooke Community Nature and Fishing Club will use funding
to help continue develop angling opportunities and facilities.

Brauntstone Fishing Club, Leicester

Braunstone is a fledgling fishing club, based at Braunstone Park in the Leicester City area and close to the community at Braunstone. Many residents of the estate at Braunstone do not have transport, and so improved angling facilities on their doorstep will provide a much-needed recreational resource and hub for volunteering and other community events. The club are using their award to purchase a secure clubhouse/ unit, which will be used for administration, meetings and educational purposes. Part of the grant will also buy two double-sized fishing stages, to add to two donated by the Environment Agency. It is hoped the improvements will attract more than 500 new angling visits every year.

Elaine Halford said: “This project is so important to our community it will enable disabled people to enjoy the sport of angling locally. Without the disabled platforms most of our disabled anglers in our community wouldn't be able to do the very thing they love, fishing in a safe local environment. The clubhouse will provide a space where people of all abilities can chat and share the knowledge they have. Without the help of Angling Trust it would have been a long time before we as a club could have achieved this project."

Braunstone Container
The new clubhouse and fishing store arrives at Braunstone FC.

Canal Connections, Esholt, Leeds

Canal Connections will be managing the Leeds Waterfront Festival this summer and has engaged over 500 young people at its summer schools over the last 4 years. Having been offered use of woodland on the non-towpath side of the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Esholt, near Bradford, the organisation has applied for support for an innovative project to build a series of interconnecting stages and pathways to offer ‘have-a-go’ fishing sessions to schools, scouts and ‘hard-to-reach’ groups in a safe and peaceful environment. There is still quite a lot of planning to do, but if discussions with the Canal and River Trust and existing users of the canal are successful, the project could generate 250 new angling opportunities annually. The project will bring substantial match funding, including a grant from the Arts Council ‘Hydro-citizenship’ project and 100 days of volunteer time.

Canal Connections
Canal Connections will use funding to increase
angling opportunities for youngsters.

Canal & River Trust (CRT), Cheshire

CRT believe that a thriving community angling club can play a significant role in helping to address various local social issues. This project will make use of a city section of the Shropshire Union Canal at Blacon, Chester. Using members of its successful volunteer programme, CRT will install a series of pegs on the stretch, which will then home a new free-to-join, and self-sustaining angling club. The project has significant support from partners in the region including the Sanctuary Housing Group, West Cheshire & Chester Council and the Chester branch of Bank of America UK.

City of York Council

An application was made by City of York Council to help them rejuvenate Chapman’s Pond, located on the edge of the city.  After years of neglect, the past 3 years has seen a surge in community interest in the venue, including the formation of a voluntary bailiff group by local anglers, which is working alongside the Friend’s of Chapman’s Pond to improve the site and encourage responsible angling. The grant award will be spent on new stages installed with the generous help of TCV volunteers, repairs to existing pegs, sets of fishing equipment and coaching qualifications. These facilities improvements will provide a launch pad for inclusive angling events, which it is hoped could generate more than 600 new angling visits to the Pond every year.

Friends of Springfield Park, Kidderminster, Worcestershire

The Friends of Springfield Park, Kidderminster, was launched in 2009 and has established an enviable record of running community events. The Friends will use their AIF award to continue a wide programme of angling improvements at the ‘Stackpool’ launched this year, including the planting of floating islands, water quality improvements, an access audit by BDAA (British Disabled Angling Association) and the installation of two new disabled fishing platforms. The project has the support of the local council and, as well as encouraging angling is hoped to bring many community benefits.

Ben Bendall said: "Friends of Springfield Park took over the management of the 3.3 acre Stackpool on 1 January 2016 and greatly appreciate the advice and help and funding that we have received from the Angling Trust. Thank you."

Friends of Springfield 3
Improvements being made to Stackpool, thanks to AIF funding.

Friends of York Railway Pond & Reserve, York

Railway Pond & Reserve is a former brick pond located in a residential area of York and is being transformed by a project led by the local Friends Group and supported by City of York Council (under the umbrella group of York Natural Environmental Trust.) In a sense, the project’s greatest benefit is the many volunteering opportunities generated by the fishery working parties, giving local residents a chance to meet one another in the open air, learn skills and pursue a more active lifestyle. This contributes to resident’s general well being and in particular helps to combat loneliness in later life. Those on a budget can even exchange their volunteer time for free fishing. The AIF grant will permit the rebuilding of 6 dilapidated platforms and fund additional marginal planting.

Friends of York Railway
Railway Pond and Reserve will provide angling
and improve well being for local residents.

Humberstone Angling Association, Leicester

This club has taken the lease on an under-used community park water called Hamilton Lake in Leicester, owned by Leicester City Council. The venue has been neglected for some time, leading to the deterioration of existing swims and vegetation overgrowth, however it offers a huge amount of potential as it is located near a housing estate and would offer residents the chance of fishing at their doorstep. Following recommendations made by the EA, the AIF-supported improvement project will include landscaping work, the creation of new safe swims, purchase of maintenance tools, signage, planting and fish refuges and will involve a large investment of volunteer time.

Leazes Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Leazes Park Lake is a valuable green space at the heart of Newcastle city centre, just behind St. James’s Park. As well as offering fishing to members and day-ticket anglers, the Association also runs regular coaching sessions for young people and disabled adults. It has worked with community and youth projects for a number of years and the AIF –supported project has the backing of Gateshead Disability Services who participate in the Angling4All programme. Money from the Fund, together with a sizeable matching contribution from the Association will go towards fish refuge planting, re-stocking with bream, tench and crucian carp, and will fund 12 days of coaching this summer supported by the Association’s licensed coaches, volunteer champions and qualified health support workers.

John White, Secretary LPAA said: “Needless to say this has improved our community based fishery beyond our expectations. Many thanks to the Angling Improvement Fund.”

John Ainsbitt, from Gateshead Council’s Adult Provider Services Angling4All, added: “Angling coaches from Leaze’s Park AA offer our members structured activities that are educational, fulfilling and raise self-esteem. Seeing disabled people fishing at Leazes also helps break down barriers by portraying a can-do attitude. We have fished at Leaze’s Park for the past year and are planning more open days to allow people with disabilities who have never fished before to give it a go.”

 Leazes park
The conservation and refuge area being installed at Leazes Park.

Paul’s Pond Enhancement Scheme, Leeds City Council

Paul’s Pond lies at the southern-most end of the Brears Marsh Nature Reserve in Leeds. BT Leeds Angling Club has rented this water from Leeds City Council for over 40 years and together implementing an enhancement scheme to improve the pond and surrounding area. The AIF award will be used to purchase 8 platforms to enable safe, accessible fishing for all, and provide a safe environment for coaching. Because the footpath around the pond is close to the water’s edge the platforms will also allow anglers to keep the path clear for walkers, horse riders and the general public. Once in place, planned coaching sessions are expected to boost angling participation by at least 50-75% over the next 3-5 years.

Leeds CC
AIF funding will help install 8 new coaching platforms.

National Trust Blickling, Norwich

Fishing is available by day or season ticket at the National Trust’s Blickling Estate, and special rates are provided for schools. While bream is the major species, some sizeable carp are also held in the picturesque 20-acre lake, one of the oldest estate lakes in Norfolk. Using their award, the NT wardens and volunteer team will install 5 new platforms, adding to the 10 recently erected by the Estate.  Blickling is part of a national project to provide multi-use trails, funded in partnership with Sport England, and it is hoped the new platforms will support 500 new fishing visits.

Barnwell Country Park, Northamptonshire County Council

The waters at Barnwell Country Park, near Oundle include two former gravel pit lakes, and "the Backwater" a streamy side channel of the River Nene.  With its accessibility and facilities, the park provides a good accessible venue for novices, with a reasonable stock of smaller fish. It is also a good venue for disabled anglers with three wheel chair accessible swims on Mill Lake and two on North Lake. Free fishing is offered to under-12s and concessionary rates for badge holders, senior citizens and under 15s. The Park team will use the award to install 3 further double-sized platforms, as well as information boards and panels.

Otterspool Angling Club, Watford, Herts

OAC, a member of the Colne Valley Fisheries Consultative, is delighted to have won an award from the AIF. Its members, working in partnership with EA fisheries officers and the riparian landowner, have put a huge amount of time, effort and money into river habitat improvements over the years.  Now, using their award and following the advice of the EA and Wild Trout Trust, they look forward to returning a recently acquired, overgrown, choked and unfishable section of the Hertfordshire Colne back to its former glory, enabling greater community access and use by the people of Watford. The club also hopes to re-establish the junior Meriden Fishing Club, which folded when no local water could be found.

Fireman's Pond Development, Port Sunlight Angling Club, Wirral

In 2010 Port Sunlight AC was given the chance to purchase Fireman’s Pond but the water had become silted-up and attracted fly-tippers and anti-social behaviour.  A prestigious Inspired Facilities grant awarded to the club in 2012 to help install new pegs has had an enormous impact, boosting junior membership by 10-fold. Now, using their AIF award, together with club funds, the club will be able to purchase a new aerator, to further improve the standard of the fishery and meet the costs of a Level 2 coaching qualification. The club has also promised extensive volunteer support for the improvements in the form of coaching and a working party.

Port sunlight Aerator
The new aerator at Fireman's Pond.

Salford Friendly Anglers Society

Called the ‘Old River Irwell Restoration Project’, the focus of these improvements is actually a public park lake, with fishing rights granted by Salford Council. Once a celebrated tench water, the fish population was hit hard by a pollution incident in 2008. However, the Society was not daunted and has worked tirelessly to turn things around, securing funding from local charities and Salford Council to restock and build floating islands. It also won an impressive £8000 grant from the Tesco Plastic Bag Fund to rebuild 12 pegs. With its AIF award, and in partnership with the local Rivers Trust, SFA will add a further 12 stages (with steps where required), which collectively should generate 2000 more angling visits, half by children. The Society offers free fishing to anyone with a valid rod licence and hopes to use this particular venue to host its 200th anniversary celebrations in 2017.

Hanley Park, Stoke on Trent City Council

Hanley Park is a popular community water, offering free fishing within easy reach of the city centre but in recent times has suffered from predation by birds. With its AIF award, which is predicted to stimulate 1400 new angling visits per annum, Stoke Council will build new fish refuges and install a new path and four disabled pegs.  The Council will also fund works on the lake’s fountains to help ensure adequate aeration. The grant will complement a successful bid made to the heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Park’s historic central area. The Council supports a City Waters group of clubs leasing its waters.

Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, London

Victoria Park is one of London's oldest and most important historic parks, visited by millions of Londoners and tourists since opening nearly 170 years ago. The Park’s East Lake, which was restored in 2012, offers pretty well the only free fishing in the area and while the park team currently run fishing taster days, they would love to deliver more sessions. The AIF award will be used for lily cover and marginal planting, to add non-slip surfacing to angling platforms, to train 2 staff members up to AT Level 1 coaching standard and to purchase a limited amount of children’s fishing equipment.  Once these enhancements are complete, the Tower Hamlets BC have promised to stock the lake with £2,000 worth of fish. All in all, the LBTH Community Outreach team predicts that more than 300 additional visits by children can be delivered every year. In exciting news, Victoria Park has beaten off stiff competition from more than 1,500 other Green Flag Award parks to be crowned the People's Choice 2015 – for the second year in a row.

PiChildren will enjoy non-slip platforms, enhanced
habitat and coaching thanks to the AIF. 

4(b): Projects with schools and colleges

Fir Tree Fishery CIC, Wigan, Lancashire

Located near Wigan, this company has provided services for Wigan Council since 2010 with the aim of delivering rehabilitation and enrichment sessions for young people with disabilities. The venue was designed with advice from the Environment Agency and the British Disabled Angling Association and won Sport England funding in 2013. Highly developed evaluation systems are in place and over 72% of learners have progressed to employment or apprenticeships. The funded project is based on a pilot successfully delivered with Oakfield High School and will involve working with 35-40 young people over an initial 12 month period to deliver 6 community cohesion angling events. The major benefit will come from the young people assisting others in angling and fishery management. The AIF grant will help pay for fishing kit, complementing the match funding and coaching time offered by FTF.

Fir Tree Fishery
Rehabilitation and enrichment sessions will be supported
at Fir Tree Fishery by funding.

Fishing 4 Schools / Countryside Alliance Foundation and Hadlow College, Kent

In this innovative 3-way project six Hadlow College students will be funded to obtain L1 and L2 coaching qualifications, enabling them to assist at open days and taster sessions offered by Fishing 4 Schools at the Grove Farm Fishery. A further part of the grant will go towards the construction of 3 new platforms, an interconnecting pathway and fencing. Nine named schools (target age range 11-16) will be invited to take part in the F4S sessions and, crucially, F4S look to train school staff as well as the students to help schools sustain angling independently.

Charles Jardine of F4S said: “Can I, on behalf of everyone connected, thank the Angling Trust for this wonderful opportunity to grow our fabulous sport - especially with the young in mind - in the Kent region."

Godalming Angling Society, Surrey

In conjunction with Rodborough Secondary School the club has use of a coaching pond, Hill Pond, at its Marsh Farm complex, an accessible venue built with the assistance of Lottery funding. The Society runs regular coaching sessions during the summer which double as out of term school angling club events, plus they run events for the school in term time. This year the club has launched its Angling Academy to give participants a more in depth instruction. The award made to Godalming Angling Society will allow it to improve the venue further by creating a new coaching preparation area incorporating a tackle shed, and a paved, sheltered outside area with benches where children can store belongings and eat lunch. GAS is confident that by improving the facilities it will see more school groups use the venue and generate upwards of 1200 angling visits. The Society has made a major investment of its own towards the overall costs of the project.

David Ewing, Junior Development Officer at Godalming Angling Society, said: “We have a lot of school groups use the facilities at Marsh Farm. Providing a decent space for kids to store their bags, have lunch and get out of the weather (both strong sunshine and rain) will be a real benefit.

“Our coaches have been asking for a dedicated coaching store close to our training lake, Hill Pond. Now thanks to the Angling Improvement Fund we are able to do this. Having access to our tackle on site means we can respond better to the needs of youngsters moving them on to more complex tactics and methods more easily.”

Godalming AS
A dedicated storage facility will help youngsters get in to fishing.

Hassocks & District Angling Society, Sussex

Having installed a number of disabled friendly platforms around their newly-purchased lake, this Sussex club approached the AIF for a grant to lay a grass reinforcement mesh to improve access for less mobile and disabled anglers. Crucially in this project, students from Plumpton College will help to plan and lay the mesh as part of their Fish and Fishery Management Course. When access has been improved the club will host a number of coaching events using the club's L2 qualified coaches and will invite Twineham Primary School to hold classes at the lake.

Tony Elkins of Hassocks & DAS said: ”We would like to thank the Angling Trust for the grant as it will clearly improve the access around our new lake. This is the final piece in the jigsaw as the lake was opened in April to Anglers and we now have a much more solid path between all of the purpose built fishing platforms. The mesh will be invisible in a couple of months once the grass has grown through."

Improvements will help increase the number of coaching sessions.

Newrad Fisheries Club, Darwen, Lancashire

Established in 1981 Newrad Fisheries Club (NFC) offers fishing at two lakes leased from Blackburn & Darwen Borough Council. NFC has obtained ‘Fishmark’ status and was shortlisted in Round 2 of the AIF. Through its partnership with the community organisation NCW Kewl Club, strong links have been established with local schools, scouts and beavers groups and Child Action NW, and through its work more than 600 children have been coached and signposted to NFC and other local fishing clubs over the last 12 years. With its AIF award the club will be able to repair damage to fishing platforms, enabling more to be used in coaching sessions with local school and youth organisations. It is anticipated that the number of visiting anglers will double once the works have been completed.

The club said: "The club was pleased to receive the funding which will make more fishing pegs accessible and safer. It is also a great opportunity for our members and other anglers to see that part of their rod licence money is being used to improve local fisheries for grassroots clubs."

Pool Bridge Farm Ltd, York

Pool Bridge Farm Fishery is ‘Fishmarked’ and has offered events and incentives to encourage young people into angling for the past 9 years. Their award will enable the conversion of one of the farm buildings to a classroom, venue for L1 and L2 coaching courses and base for its annual Family Fishing event and it is hoped the new facilities will attract 500+ new angling visits by children. The fishery offered a substantial amount of skilled joinery time as part of its own ‘in-kind’ contribution to this £11,300 project.

Tek2 Fly Fishing/ Holy Trinity Junior School, Ripon

Tek2 intends to run a series of courses aimed at the ‘Introduction to Fly Fishing’ for youngsters from Holy Trinity Junior School, Ripon, which will also support aspects of the KS2 curriculum. The Head Teacher wants to see the angling programme become a permanent feature of the school's calendar and has been involved in the design of the programme's content. The first five sessions will be run in-school with the final (angling) one held at Kilnsey Park Fishery. On completion pupils will be presented with their AT CAST Awards and a fact sheet for parents identifying further angling opportunities.

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