Who are we?
We are the willows lodge fishing group. We are a group of volunteers who clean and maintain a local lake in which many people have pleasure fished for generations. Over the years the lake was neglected due to the previous group's incapacity to keep the lake and the area clean thus leading to an outbreak of weeds around the lake and a heavy growth of oxygen choking weed within the lake itself. Not only has the lake become unfishable its now becoming a danger for the animal species who reside within the lake. Fish are beginning to struggle for oxygen with rising temperatures and ducks/geese who have resided on the lake for a long time are now struggling to live within the weedy waters.
So who are we and what are we here to do? We are a non profit volunteer group set up in 2020, just prior to the Covid 19 outbreak. Every volunteer we have (at present 6 of us) are avid anglers and operate on a catch and release basis so no fish are kept and killed within the process of our sport. We aim to educate and enable everyone to be able to partake in such an amazing sport. Our particular focus is young people as well as those who are registered as disabled. With our disability ramp as well as the dynamics of the lake itself we are well accustomed to facilitating for those who cannot otherwise travel to experience a sport many people love.
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Within Lancashire there are reported to be 149,000 adults who have depression and an estimate of 22,000 within Blackburn and Darwen. The statistics on severe mental illness are estimated to be around 12000 and around 2300 within Blackburn and Darwen as per the lancashire.gov.uk statistics. These statistics were published in 2020, leading into 2021 so it is likely that the statistics have dramatically rose due to those affected by lock down and at present, the rising cost of living. It would be fair to say that the number of people under 18 with depression or severe mental illness would be likely very similar to the above.
so why does fishing help? Well its reported by the canal and river trust that over 40% of adults lie awake at night for long periods of time due to stress and depression related symptoms. The canal and river trust have reported that being near water is a very good strategy used to relieve stress and fishing can cut this figure dramatically. Those who fish tend to have lower stress levels than those in a similar environment/circumstance.
Fishing is also a very social sport. It brings friends together as well as giving family an opportunity to carry out a similar interest and bond together. Its now estimated that 1 in every 11 fishing licences are owned by junior members, out of a total 940,000 fishing licences. This statistic was reported in 2019 and will have since rose dramatically.
As a parent myself, with a child who has been given a short time left to live, I can honestly tell you that my best memories have been made whilst on the bank with my son and I'm so thankful that my father introduced me into fishing as a young boy. You make memories that you can cherish forever.
Fishing is also a way to keep fit and heatlhy.as per the canal and river trust it is believed that By going fishing your main muscle groups, heart and lungs are all getting a good work out. Choosing a fishing spot that's within walking distance of your house, or a 10 to 15 minute walk from your car, is an obvious boost to aerobic exercise. Setting up, casting off and then landing hundreds of small fish calls for a bit of strength. Let alone some of the huge carp or pike you can find in our UK waters. It engages the shoulders, back, arms, core and legs in an active workout. Incorporating lure fishing into your itinerary is another great way of hitting your gently aerobic exercise targets. There is also the added benefit of vitimin D. As per the canal and river trust, its believed that Even when skies are grey, being outside means your body can top up on critical Vitamin D reserves, providing that your skin is exposed of course. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body, keeping your bones and teeth healthy. It boosts your immune system and has been linked to fighting depression.
So fishing has both a social aspect as well as a huge impact on both Physical and Mental health for the community.
Our aim is to make fishing at willows lodge free for all of the community and actively teach and encourage anyone who is struggling with both mental and physical health to come and fish at our lake.
Why are we crowdfunding?
During Covid 19 myself and a couple of the volunteers experienced some very upsetting complications with our personal life. One of our volunteers lost his little girl, aged 3 weeks old and myself and another volunteer were locked down in special measures due to having children on palliative care. This meant that we could not work on maintaining the lake as much as we would have liked to. Prior to Covid myself and many other members invested a lot of money into cleaning the lake and removing the weed by machine as well as many long hours working on the banking and the foliage around the lake.. Due to the restrictions, our work was quickly undone as the lake was unattended for the most part of the lock down.
Since we are a NON profit organisation and rely on volunteers, we have not managed to get on top of nature at present and it is winning. But in an adverse way as the weed inside the lake and around is potentially killing the wildlife within it. We are crowdfunding to fund services in which will help us to clear the lake and make the fishery safe for all its community once again, as unfortunately we cannot get the sheer amount of volunteers required to remove the foliage and the weed to a point where it is once again manageable.
How we’ll spend the money raised
We have formulated a plan on how the money would be spent and I will provide a break down of where the funds will be spent.
£1000 will be spent on a weed harvester boat whom will come and remove the weed from inside the lake using a machine. The specific boat is safe for fish and aquatic wildlife due to the specialist machinery they have.
£1000 will be spent on fixing the banking.
This will be broken down into £800 for the hire of a landscaping service to make the banking safe for anglers to fish from as well as £200 for the purchasing of weed removing tools as well as a professional weed management company which will be used to keep the brambles and the dangerous weeds from coming back.
We will then require £800 for 'peg repairs' which is designated fishing spots which are required for those with disabilities to fish from. These platforms are made both wheelchair accessible as well as child friendly. With the cost of wood and the labour required the funds should cover around 20 metres of platform to allow a space for anglers who are not able to access the back banking due to any disabilities they may have.
Our remaining cost of £2000 will be used on purchasing fishing gear for young children as well as those who suffer from any mental illness. We will keep this gear on site and it will be used during classes for teaching young people and those who are disadvantaged in any way or have any mental illness how to fish. The gear should cost us around £1000 for 10 set fishing set ups. A fishing tutor with a level 3 in coaching should cost £600 per the year offering 1 session weekly as well as 3 sessions per week during the holidays. We will also invest £400 on rewards and prizes for competitions as well as trophies and medals for those who partake in our events or come down to join in our programmes.
We really hope you get behind our project and get our young people off the streets, of the consoles and mobile devices and onto the bank. Fishing changes lives.