News Stories

Congratulations Dudley Canal!
19 September 2016
Biffa Award funded Dudley canal trust win living waterways award
 
Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines are celebrating a big win as
they beat the competition from around the country to take home Canal
and River Trust’s Living Waterways Award in the Recreation and
Tourism category.

The Trust collected the award in person at Canal and River Trust’s
awards evening at Birmingham Town Hall on 14 September.

“We are delighted to have won the award,” says Nick Morris, Chief
Executive of Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust. “It is a real testament to
the tremendous amount of hard work by Dudley Canal Trust staff and
volunteers to provide access to this remarkable historic site.”

Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust has championed the restoration,
maintenance and enjoyment of the spectacular underground labyrinth
of limestone mines and canal tunnels under Dudley for 55 years. Their
new £3.7m Portal Visitor Centre at Castle Hill, with interactive
exhibition gallery, learning space, restaurant and function room, shop
and trip boat base, opened in October 2015.

“Over the past 50 years the Trust has operated from temporary
buildings adjacent to the canal and tunnel entrances, but has long
worked towards creating a centre to enhance the wonders of the
caverns,” says Nick. “Our fantastic new Portal Visitor Centre has
already doubled the numbers of visitors to the site since it opened just
under a year ago.”
 
Christopher Rodrigues CBC, Chair of the Living Waterways Awards
Assessment Panel, adds:

“This flagship visitor centre accommodates a wide range of activity and
has allowed the Trust to grow from employing just two people with five
volunteers, to employing 15, with 40 volunteers.

“The site is being successfully promoted to all age groups and we saw
evidence of large numbers of young visitors being fascinated with their
experience.  The Trust certainly deserves to be recognised for their
remarkable work to promote and celebrate this important waterways
site.”

Major funding partners for the project to create the Portal include the
European Regional Development Fund £997,000, Heritage Lottery Fund
£989,000, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership £755,000 and
Biffa Award £500,000.  Other charitable donors include The Garfield
Weston Foundation, J P Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Headley Trust, The
Wolfson Foundation, Dudley Canal Trust, Dudley Canal Trust (Trips),
and £30,000 raised by a public appeal.