PEOPLE in Swindon are being urged to get behind a £50,000 TV fundraising bid which could see a kilometre of canal banks restored.

The Wilts and Berks Canal Trust is hoping to secure the money to create the Studley Wildlife Trail.

But to bag the cash, from the Big Lottery Fund, the group needs people to vote for their cause during a TV competition, being run in conjunction with ITV.

The People’s Millions 2014, which takes place on ITV West Country East at the end of November, sees community groups go head-to-head in a bid to win National Lottery funding for life-changing projects.

Two groups each night will make their cases for viewers’ support to take home up to £50,000, with the public voting by phone to help decide who wins the prize.

Company secretary of the canal trust, Chris Coyle, said he wanted Wiltshire to unite behind the cause when they go up against an appeal from the Handfuls of Harmony Choir run by South West Bristol Co-operative Learning Trust in Bristol, on Wednesday, November 26.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do on organising it,” he said.

“The number (to vote for the group) is not released until the day itself, so people can’t vote in advance.

“We’ve got to get as many people as we can lined up to vote on the day.”

If successful, the project would create a wildlife corridor with standing water habitat and with a multi-use path, with a kilometre of canal banks planted with a variety of hedging, scrubs and wild flowers aiming to provide food and shelter for wild bees, insects and for water voles and wildfowl.

Benches and leaning posts would also be provided, along with bat and bird boxes.

And Mr Coyle said he was hopeful the scheme would continue the group’s plans to increase the rate of redevelopment on the canal.

“It’s taken us 40 years to complete 10 per cent of the canal,” he said.

“But I want to be sitting in my boat with a gin and tonic in my hand, on a finished canal, so we’re raising the game and upping the pace.”

Dawn Austwick, Big Lottery Fund chief executive, said: “The People’s Millions competition is a brilliant opportunity for people to have a say in how Lottery money is spent in their communities.

“Voters will have some difficult choices to make in deciding which of the excellent projects going head to head will get their support. But most importantly, the end result will benefit people and communities most in need.”

For more details on the competition, log on to