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Canal network: involving the community

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Sandwell Council worked with regeneration contractor Kier to give local people a seat at the decision-making table.

The improvement of local rivers and canals is an important part of regeneration plans in the borough. Our waterways are part of the transport infrastructure, offer opportunities for exercise and recreation, and play a crucial role in biodiversity.

Part of the Sandwell Regeneration Pipeline Programme funding recently supported a canal works in Rowley Regis. The project involved enhancements to the Old Main Line Canal and Dudley No.2 Canal, making towpaths and access points more accessible and attractive. This also created jobs for local people.

Involving local people in decisions

To support the social value commitment of this contract, Sandwell’s Social Value and Think Sandwell (now Sandwell Business Growth) Teams worked with the principal contractor Kier to recruit local people to the development team. Six local people were recruited by Think Sandwell Employment Officer Anna Bishop to take part in the project, helping shape the project’s infrastructure. 

Michael Ditch, Kier’s operations manager, said: “This has been a great opportunity to work with people who live locally and really put passion into their work. Kier will look to continue creating similar opportunities on future programme of works, as it is valuable and rewarding in lots of ways.”

Can your business involve local people in project planning?

Our Sandwell Business Growth Team can help you to work in ways that bring wider social and environment benefits to people and communities.

Pictured left to right: James Swiderski, Jake Blakesley and Peter Brady – three of the local people recruited to the project.

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