The Transport and General Workers' Union has donated £3,900 to the Wildside Activity Centre to ensure that children with special needs, and their families, will be able to take trips aboard the newly refurbished and disabled-access friendly narrowboat.
The TGWU has done numerous fundraising projects for three special needs schools in Wolverhampton and the Black Country, as well as the Let Us Play charity. The donation is enough to secure three trips per year for the next five years, for each of the special schools that the charity supports, and chairman and trustee Cyril Barrett says that more are on the way.
Cyril said: "All these organisations look after over 630 children with special needs in Wolverhampton and the Black Country, and we have a proud association with them all.
"This is about giving the children the opportunity to experience something that they are probably would never have the chance to experience in their lives. It will help them, and their families, and their carers."
The narrowboat, ‘The Trebalisa’, was laid down in 1993, and was recently restored to its former glory after charitable donations made it possible. An average trip, one that the children will take in the coming years, will take them from the wharf at the Wildside centre to Wightwick and back. Children will get to see how the locks work on the canal, be able to steer the boat or operate the locks, as well as getting a glimpse of some local wildlife such as kingfishers and herons and water voles.
To date, the TGWU has participated in some 120 projects for charities in the area.
The TGWU, Cyril adds, is committed to creating a legacy for all the former Goodyear employees.
"What we are doing here is creating a proud living legacy for all ex-workers of Goodyear. We are all decent people, and it is about doing the decent thing and helping those most vulnerable and most challenged in life."
As for the next project, the TGWU plans on working with the Feed a Family charity in the run up to Christmas, as the trustees feel this is yet another worthy cause.