Stourport Forward is a not for profit company, formed to oversee the Canal Basins Regeneration Project and set up by local businessman, Derek Fradegley in 1997. The project was responsible for restoring and developing the basins area, restoring buildings and creating two heritage rooms (the Tontine Stable and Old Ticket Office link). Pathways, signage and lighting were improved and offer a fascinating welcome to visitors to this Georgian town.
The Stourport Forward team went on to work with local partners, British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust), Stourport Town Council, Wyre Forest District Council, the Civic Society, Town Centre Forum, Riverside Traders and others, to support a spirit of regeneration. Developers went on to develop new housing by re-opening Lichfield Basin and building new apartments and houses around it, restoring the imposing Tontine building and improving other Georgian buildings. Stourport Forward supported the Town Council and the Civic volunteer group when the town’s impressive Civic hall was transferred to a trust, and won a series of Market Towns Initiative awards for work in Stourport.
Stourport Forward is led by a chairman and board members, who oversee all work. Its manager and assistant manager are part-time and it would not be possible to do any of the work without a large group of volunteers, carrying out a wide range of tasks. These include guided walks leaders, working boat volunteers, events and heritage volunteers and Canal & River Explorers Volunteers, who lead school and group visits in the canal basins.
You can find out more about volunteering with Stourport Forward here.
A new chapter
In 2019 Stourport Forward began a transformation after nearly 20 years in the town, guided by a Heritage Lottery funded research project, looking at how it could support the town in changing times, and merged with the Town Centre Forum later that year.
In 2020, we followed Government, Department for Education and NHS advice and are working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust so that we can act in accordance with national guidance. We reluctantly took the decision to cancel all events and work with schools and groups, earlier in the year, but are now cautiously re-opening some activities and hope to be able to run events again in 2021.
We expect to run some events, open the Heritage Rooms and operate working boat Bramble in 2021 as well as reviewing how we can once again become engaged in regeneration and community projects in Stourport on Severn.
The Stourport Forward Board will be meeting throughout 2020 and we expect to hold our Annual General Meeting in May 2021.