Friends of Rochdale 9: Q & A with Cllr Kevin Peel


This month an exciting new initiative is launching in central Manchester on the Rochdale Canal. Friends of Rochdale 9 (FOR9) is the result of consultation with local people in partnership with the City Centre Councillors and Canal & River Trust. We caught up with Councillor Kevin Peel to find out more.

Who’s idea was FOR9?

Lots of people have been keen to see it develop but the impetus came from councillors, a small group of residents and CRT getting organised.

What difference will Friends of Rochdale 9 make to local people in Manchester?

If we can make the canal come alive we can provide a new space for residents to use and help us to achieve our goal of a greener, more liveable city with lots of community spaces.

What does it involve?

There are loads of things people can do. We’ll need help with planting, tidying, painting, organising events like our canal festival, which we hope will become an annual event, and working on long term plans to improve the canal and surrounding area.

What does the Rochdale Canal mean to you?

For me it is a vital connection through the city which should be used as a key walking, cycling and boating route for commuters, residents and visitors. I want it to be a green corridor alive with activity which we can all be proud of.

Please tell us about your involvement with Friends of Rochdale 9:

I’ve been keen to see a friends group for the canal set up for a couple of years now. Councillors wrote to residents bordering the canal and organised an initial meeting back in 2014. We’re delighted to now be working with CRT to push the idea forward.

Who is paying for this?

Initial funding has come from Manchester City Council’s Clean City fund for the biodiversity project and the councillors’ Neighbourhood Investment Fund for the launch weekend, future volunteering weekends and September’s exciting canal festival. Councillors have been delighted to invest in such an important scheme.

How do you know this will succeed?

We never underestimate the will of local residents to make lasting change once they put their minds to something! The example of the Ancoats Canal Project, the Castlefield Forum or the Northern Quarter Greening Group show what the determination, commitment and passion of residents can achieve.

Is there anything else happening?

Our first canal festival weekend on 10th and 11th September will, we hope, be a big success. We want the canal to come alive with activity and prompt more year-round activities along the route through the city centre. We’ll be seeking residents’ views and involvement in planning this festival.

How can people have their say in what happens to the city centre canal?

Come along to our launch weekend on 16th and 17th April or one of our future activity weekends or contact your local councillors!

How can people get involved? .

Come along to one of the weekends, follow on social media (we’re on facebook and Twitter @myrochdalecanal) and contact CRT and your local councillors.

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