Yesterday I went on an angling tour of West London. Leaving home in South Wales at six on a very frosty and bleak morning, I got to Ealing at 9am where I was greeted warmly and brightly by the enthusiastic and very capable CEO of Get Hooked on Fishing Sarah Collins. Sarah introduced me to Project Manager James, who showed me round Get Hooked on Fishing Ealing’s fantastic new facility
Built from the rubble of Wembley Stadium, it’s a brilliant fishery for young people to come and fish for the first time. The lakes are full of silver fish which means that a catch is almost guaranteed, but beginners don’t get carried away by catching an enormous carp on their first attempt. The classroom facilities are brilliant and the whole place is accessible to families and wheelchair users. The Angling Trust is going to be working very closely with Get Hooked on Fishing at Ealing, and also nationally, to promote the unique work that they do to use fishing as a way of helping young people, and particularly those who are struggling a bit, to learn how to tackle life’s challenges.
After a quick tour, it was back in the car and off to Les Webber’s Angling Projects near Slough. Les has written in the angling press about the fact that I have not been to visit his project, and so when he invited me I was pleased to be able to include a visit to his organisation’s facilities. His was one of the first groups to run angling participation projects and he has achieved a huge amount over the many years he has been working with young people. It was fascinating to find out more about his work and the exciting news that Angling Projects has become a charity.
Then I headed back into London to Sky where I met up with Keith Arthur to film an episode of Tight Lines. We discussed the National Angling Survey and our new strategy for getting people into fishing and more benefits out of fishing for people – The National Angling Strategy
We finished filming at about Five O’clock and I wound my way through the rush hour traffic and up to Derbyshire to catch up with our Head of Freshwater Mark Owen.
A long day at the end of another long week, but an utterly inspiring opportunity to meet people who are, every day, transforming the lives of people who need most help: the young, the old and the disabled. More power to their elbows.