AIF – Winning Projects 2017-18

During 2017-18, over 150 projects were selected to receive grants from the Angling Inmprovement Fund following a competitive judging process. Two rounds of funding were held on the following themes: Council and Commercial Waters, Predation and Fish Protection (twice), Access to Waters, Health and Wellbeing, and Spring Maintenance.  Here’s a selection of just some of the AIF-funded projects in 2017-18:


Bank repairs being carried out on Falkland Pool


In September 2017, the club fishery managers conducted an inspection of the lake perimeter at its Falklands Pool and identified extensive undercutting to the fishery banks. The pool was originally constructed on land purchased by the club in the late 1970’s with excavation taking place in the early 1980’s.

The natural surrounding land level at some of the lake perimeter is low, with some bank areas effectively being dams formed from material extracted during the lake construction. Due to water erosion, compounded by wind and wave action over the years, some areas of the banks had become significantly undercut resulting in frequent bank collapse and swim subsidence incidents. The club were very concerned that if they didn’t carry out immediate additional bank repair and upgrades this could lead to an accident and/or breaching with catastrophic water and fish loss.

Funding was sought from the AIF to help purchase the materials to repair the banks to safeguard the fishery for its members and avoiding further erosion and banks collapse. Having obtained a quotation from a contractor to undertake this work, the club quickly realised the cost was going to be prohibitive and instead consulted its membership looking for expertise and ability from within its ranks and decided that this was going to be a much better option. Using a proven technique, based on a proprietary purpose designed membrane and back-fill method, the club has repaired the bank which will enable its members to continue to enjoy for years to come.

In a following round of grant funding, the club successfully applied again and secured further funding to install several large disabled-compliant fishing platforms which provide safe and easy access to the water’s edge.

The club is based in Rayleigh, Essex and organises a number of open day events as a way of promoting itself and attracting new members.

Thornwood Springs Trout Fishery, Epping


Thornwood Springs is now more accessible for all


Thornwood Springs is a haven for traditional fly anglers who want to see crystal clear spring fed water, producing some very large and good tasting fish along with amazing fly and wildlife.

In order that today’s discerning fly angler can pursue their target of a first fish, a brown trout, rainbow, blue and tiger trout, this fishery is stocked with fish in excess of 20lbs. Thornwood is a paradise for all levels of angler, catering for all methods and styles of fly fishing, in an idyllic setting next to Epping Forest.

This fishery has a resident instructor, a comfy lodge with log burner, offers free tea and coffee and has a shop with all necessities. With help from the Angling Improvement Fund, a new toilet block was installed that catered for both abled & less-abled persons, including the necessary sewerage treatment plant, overflow pipework and associated clearance, excavation & foundation works and ramps.

The fishery made a considerable match contribution to this project as they thought this facility would greatly complement what was already on offer and encourage anglers to use the fishery.


Andy’s Lake, Cotswold Water Park, Gloucestershire

Erecting the otter proof fence

“Heartbreak” as it is known to local carp anglers, is a family-owned water set in the beautiful Cotswold Water Park in Gloucestershire.

The lake was purchased by the parents of Andrew Mundy who, in 1991, tragically drowned during an overnight fishing session at Queensford Lagoon. His friends decided to organise an annual Memorial Pike Match in his memory and bought a cup to be presented to the winner, as pike fishing was Andrew’s big passion. This event is still going strong after 25 years.

In 1992, Andrew’s parents had the idea to purchase what is now Andy’s Lake at South Cerney with the money they inherited from Andrew’s estate which would then benefit his friends, family and others of a like mind and also be used for the pike match. The lake is run by his brother who took on the task of turning it into a mixed fishery, which it still is today.

The lake itself is about 18 acres, and roughly triangular in shape. An application was made to the Angling Improvement Fund to assist with the purchase and construction of an otter proof fence following their arrival on nearby waters. The fencing required significant manpower to install and many practical difficulties had to be overcome because of the presence of bankside trees, and the need to maintain vehicular and pedestrian access around the lake. In order to reduce costs, volunteers were used in quite large numbers at all stages of the fence construction including ground preparation, as digger and dumper drivers, and as labourers.

We hope that the funds provided will help sustain this lovely water for many years to come for all of Andy’s friends and fellow anglers to enjoy.

Bathampton Angling Association

One of the new platforms built with support from the AIF

Bathampton Angling Association had the foresight many years ago to purchase some land and a lake at Hunstrete and over many years of hard work, headaches and toil, have created a lovely well stocked three lake venue for its members to enjoy. Today the venue is known as the Dave Crooks Fishery following his sterling efforts to develop this site into what it is today.

The fishery is securely protected with an electric gate and an otter fence and anglers can drive along well constructed roadways to the lakes. The club successfully bid to the Angling Improvement Fund for funding to assist them with the replacement of 12 platforms together with access improvements to them in order to make it safer for both able and less abled anglers to enjoy. Regular junior coaching sessions are arranged and, in the past, have been very well attended as the club looks to secure future members to its ranks.


Lamb Angling Club

A disabled-friendly platform at Borrowpit Lakes

This almost 100-year-old Staffordshire-based club successfully applied for a grant in Round 1 under the ‘Projects at Council Waters’ theme to improve the disabled angling access to pegs at Borrowpit Lakes, a large still water fishery on the outskirts of Tamworth town centre.

The lake is owned by Tamworth Council and is 18 acres in size and holds a good head of quality bream, tench and carp with easy access and car parking facilities. Although some pegs were available around the lake, they were in general need of repair and relocation to a more suitable position on the lake.

This was a partnership project between nine organisations led by Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership and Lamb Angling Club. Funding from the AIF was used to undertake an access audit by British Disabled Angling Association and purchase and install four new disabled-friendly platforms using recycled plastic. The installation work was undertaken by club members who worked to clear away bushes and brambles to make access to the new pegs easy.

Dawley Angling Club

Lovely view of a new peg at picturesque Ironbridge

Running through the heart of the prestigious UNESCO Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site in Shropshire is the famous River Severn known throughout the land for its chub and barbel fishing exploits.

Since the 1950’s Dawley Angling Club have proudly held the fishing rights along a 1.5 mile stretch that includes the pegs right next to the Ironbridge itself. The severe winter storms in late 2015 destroyed platforms, steps and paths, resulting in the stretch being left unfishable and in an extremely dangerous state. The club embarked on a successful bid to Sport England’s Flood Fund which ultimately allowed for the replacement of the 15 worst damaged platforms (including associated steps).

As a result of all the good work to replace the platforms plus the increase in visiting anglers, the club had complaints about the condition of paths and steps along the main riverside path. In short, the overwhelming success of the initial project had put significant strain on the infrastructure of the main access paths and the club wanted to act fast to ensure the safety of anglers.

Funding from the AIF was successfully secured under the ‘River Access’ theme for a grant towards materials to reinstate the main access path which will ensure that anglers of all abilities will be able to safely access this historic stretch of river.

Shipston on Stour Angling Club

The club increased its qualified angling coaches

For the past six years, Shipston on Stour AC has organised a free three-day annual community event known as ‘Fish-n-Frolics’, which has grown each year. Initially it was created to attract junior anglers to the club but also had the effect of increasing its adult membership

Although the club already had junior fishing events built into its calendar, they needed to increase the number of qualified level 1 & 2 angling coaches to support, deliver and oversee these events. Hence an application was submitted to the Angling Improvement Fund towards some help with the costs towards these qualifications.

As a consequence of the award they now work closely with other local fishing clubs who had also struggled to find qualified coaches and offer them support with the newly qualified coaches at their disposal.

The club plans to continue with their successful junior events and experience via coaching sessions which hopefully will continue to increase membership and ensure the club’s future whilst extending the number of people getting involved in this sport.

Since the award, the club has reported an increase in the under 18 age group and now have more females attending its coaching events than in previous years. Parents often become interested when their children attend and several mums fish alongside their children. In time the club hopes to appoint a qualified female coach.


Hartlepool & District Angling Club

Funding helped provide safer pathways around the lake

Formed in 1949, Hartlepool & District AC purchased the fishing rights on a five acre venue called Tilery Lake near Wingate, County Durham, which is only a few miles from Hartlepool, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

The club applied for funding towards a project to make access to the north bank of the lake safer. This area of bank has uneven sides and poor access to the re-cycled plastic platforms.

Continuing on from efforts in recent years to improve facilities, this club had already seen an increase in new members joining and old members re-joining and getting back into angling due to the club’s ongoing commitment to encourage all people to engage in angling.

The grant secured from the AIF was used to help create this new safer pathway around this side of the lake, and the club has plans to further improve the lake by installing some additional re-cycled platforms.


Fir Tree Fishery CIC

Funding supported Fir Tree Fishery’s ‘Access to Angling’

Fir Tree Fishery CIC was set up with the support of the British Disabled Angling Association and Environment Agency to provide fishing opportunities to people with disabilities and mobility issues. Initially, the focus for the not for profit organisation was to support several local groups to access enrichment and education activities focused around angling, providing qualified coaches as ‘buddies’, all equipment and bait for a day’s fishing.

In 2015 their popularity grew within the local community and soon they expanded their services to work with and include those who were socially isolated, stroke survivors and brain injury sufferers. With this they secured their first Angling Improvement Fund award towards the construction of a new large timber framed angling shelter with heating and lighting facilities over one of their existing ponds. It also enabled them to pilot a project called ‘Access to Angling’ to determine the need for extra activities and to find out what support and services individuals would like to see developed.

The pilot scheme was a huge success with more and more members and groups attending on more than one occasion over the next few years. Fir Tree Fishery CIC then applied and were successful in another grant from the Angling Improvement Fund which allowed them to purchase additional equipment and in turn has gone onto help their project ‘Hooked’ which aimed to create more opportunities and provide an on-going service for older adults with various types of disabilities and needs to access angling once again. The project has resulted in improved health and wellbeing, confidence and, for many, the chance to be socially active.


York & District Amalgamation of Anglers

Workers improving access to the River Ouse in Yorkshire

The YDAA was founded in 1887 and now encompasses a number of junior and senior individual clubs and has in the region of a thousand members.

In recent years the fishing swims on one of its once popular stretches of the local River Ouse, just south of the city centre at Water Fulford had become neglected and the bankside had become overgrown and poorly maintained.

The venue was popular with anglers especially in the winter time when the boat traffic declined, and competitions were held on a regular basis. A few years ago, there were 50 fishable swims but that had now become limited to around 20, due to the overgrowth and various trees being in a dangerous condition.

After lots of planning and gaining of approval from Natural England as the site is a SSSI, the club devised a project and maintenance programme to prune the dense vegetation of bramble, willow and Himalayan balsam with the aim of re-establishing 12 of the lost fishing swims.

Although the club had an active team of volunteers some of this work was beyond them so with support of a grant from the Angling Improvement Fund under the ‘Access to River’ theme, heavy equipment and professional skills were brought in to assist them re-establish the swims.

The club has made an excellent job of not only improving the fishing pegs but also created a large open area next to the water to improve safety and removed fallen branches that obstructed the popular public footpath to the city centre.

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