21st December 2009
Christmas came early for The Chesterfield Canal Trust this year.
On Monday 21st December, Geoff Lennox donated £5000 on behalf of Smart Teachers to sponsor the Trust’s new Learning Boat Project.
He was made an honorary member thereby becoming the Trust’s one thousandth member.
Robin Stonebridge, the Chair of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, thanked Geoff for his generosity and assured him that the money would be put to good use to help young people who live near the canal.
Geoff is the Chief Executive Officer of Smart Teachers. They are a teacher recruitment agency operating in England, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They offer daily supply as well as long contract and permanent teaching posts in some of the finest schools around. They also have work for newly qualified teachers and school support staff. They even know about most teaching jobs before they are advertised.Geoff said that he was very pleased to be able to help. He has fond memories from his days as a teacher of the opportunities to work with young people outside the classroom. The different atmosphere means that they have the chance to develop in fresh ways.
The Learning Boat is an ex-working boat called Python. The Chesterfield Canal Trust has leased it from British Waterways for five years. They are planning to use Python as an educational resource, not a trip boat. She will stop at villages and towns along the canal and will serve as a flexible, multi-purpose platform with lockers containing equipment, costumes and props.
The Learning Boat approach is to do things, not talk about them. Tell children that “The easy movement of goods was the triumph of the canal age” and they will yawn. Get them to try to pull a couple of bags of coal on land and they will struggle. Put the bags on the Learning Boat and they will be able to pull it easily.
Members of the Trust have been busy working with schools, colleges, dramatists and other education providers to prepare experiences for students of different ages. There will also be performances, training and presentations for adults.
A particular aim is to help those youngsters for whom life is not easy. This will include the disabled or those who may be disaffected at school or who have just left school but are finding it hard to find work.
Python will also be on hand for rallies and festivals, performances and events. It is hoped that by the time the five year lease is up, the people living on or near the Chesterfield Canal will insist that she stays having become an essential part of their lives.