ANT SQUAD – Avon Navigation Trust Youth Squad

Avon Navigation Trust youth squad (ANT SQUAD) is a new youth volunteering initiative giving young people opportunities to have fun on the river whilst at the same time learning and gaining life enhancing experiences.   

This is all being made possible by NEPTUNE and our partnership work with other organisations.

ANT SQUAD will run along the lines of a club. The Core Membership is aimed at 15-23 year olds. Activities will vary, for example, one session there may be an activity like paddleboarding from Neptune, and the following session it might be litter picking from kayaks or learning how to operate the locks. There will be a strong environmental element to ANT SQUAD activities, as well as paddlesport activities, water safety, helming craft, river trips and so much more.

The official launch for ANT squad is 2020, however sessions started with pilot sessions in 2019 with river trips on Neptune, litter picks and paddleboarding. Four of the core members have carried on their training over the winter and gained British Canoe qualifications including Foundation Rescue Training and qualified as Paddlesport Instructors. These young people will now form a vital part of the coaching team in the future. A great example of a youth project being designed and run for and by the young people themselves.

Project Neptune

Neptune started life as a 1960’s British Waterways work barge and is now ANT’S mobile activity centre and Flagship to the ANT fleet

The plan was developed in 2018 to raise grant funding and re-purpose Neptune to deliver a whole new range of recreational opportunities, focusing especially on young people.

In 2019 Neptune was refitted in partnership with Evesham Marine with new engine, re-plated and painted. The initial refit and setting up Neptune so it can attend events has all been made possible by external grant funders. 

The final internal refit is scheduled for early 2020 (fund raising permitting)

Activities Neptune enables:

  • Base and home for all the ANT SQUAD activities 
  • A mobile activity centre – able to visit events and travel along the river. ANT SQUAD have camping sessions at various locations along the river, where Neptune can moor close by providing the support facilities of toilets and kitchen.  
  • Full facilities including classroom, kitchen, toilet, shower, changing area. This is so important when delivering activities like paddleboarding where participants may need a shower, and any recreational experience should always include a cup of tea and access to a toilet.
  • The facilities make it the perfect base for the new delivery of Inland waterways helms certificates and powerboating courses on the River Avon that ANT will be starting in 2020. ANT can now also offer tuition on a wide beam. 

Hospitality, trips, corporate, event hire, support boat – ANT are open to ideas on sessions that can support the trust and also open up the river to enhance people’s lives