Unknown to many, Sparkbrook is the home to one of the largest canals in Birmingham and, like most of us, enjoys some TLC. That’s where The Feast comes in.

The Feast is a charity working with young adults from a variety of backgrounds, helping them to build confidence and learn new skills while allowing those from different faiths and cultures to create lifelong friendships.

The organisation has adopted a stretch of canal from Birmingham City Council and now, with thanks to one of the Foundation’s grants, can ensure it’s clean, safe and attractive.

Jill Appleton, The Feast – Birmingham Development Manager and Schools Consultant, told us how important the project is for community cohesion; particularly in an area with a wide range of religions:

“Since adopting this part of the canal, we want to look at getting more young people involved who attend different religious services in the area.


“We recently had some Refugees join us for a session. Although they may not stay, it is good for them to know what is in their local community.”

Chauncey has been part of the group for several months and the sessions have helped him develop and improve his personal skills, we spoke to him as he was painting one of the locks, he said:

“Since starting the project I’ve become a better person and learnt to be nicer to people.”

When asked about his life prior to joining The Feast, Chauncey was quiet and simply said:

“I was on the streets a bit, so this puts me in a better place. I try to encourage my friends from school to come and they have been a few times and enjoyed it which is great.”

While we’re chatting a narrowboat approaches, jumping into action Chauncey helps it on its way by opening and closing the lock with enthusiasm:

“I had never seen a canal and lock work before!”

When asked what he liked most about attending the project, he beamed:

“I like all the churches and mosques coming together and getting to do different activities its a great place to come and make friends!”

The Foundation awarded The Feast £5,000 from the #iWill Fund. The national campaign supports youth social action, encouraging young adults aged 10 – 20 to make positive changes in their local community.

To apply for a grant please click here.