Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wooden windfall for boatbuilders

GalGael boat
GalGael took delivery of 50 tonnes of wood from the Forestry Commission

A community project in Glasgow which builds and sails traditional boats has been given an unexpected windfall of new wood with which to work.

The GalGael Trust in Govan asked former Environment Minister Mike Russell if he could help with supplies during a recent visit.

Now the organisation has been given enough wood to build a whole boat.

GalGael helps people who have addiction issues or are long-term unemployed "get back into the world of work".

GalGael's Tam McGarvey said he Mr Russell "came good" after he made the request for more wood.

"He put us in touch with the Forestry Commission up in Appin and they're provided us with tonnes of larch, which is ideal for boat building," he said.

Quality wood

Tim Norman, who also works at GalGael, said two lorry loads were delivered last week.

"Within the 50 tonnes were about 12 fully mature larch trees, which were very good quality - I guess the kind that every traditional boat builder in Scotland is after.

"There was also some oak for the keel and some Sitka Spruce for oars and the like.

"You could build anything from a boat to a house with this amount of wood."

GalGael workshop
GalGael teaches woodcraft at its workshop in Givan
Mr Norman said he would now look to show the GalGael trainees the "timber processing from the forest to the workshop".

One of the trainees, James McGlaughlin, said the organisation had helped him turn his life around.

He said: "It's a good place. Everybody is nice, they give you purpose, make you feel welcome and make you feel like you belong.

"It's made me think that one day I could possibly build a boat or be a joiner."

GalGael was set up in the mid 90s by the late Colin Macleod and a group of his unemployed friends.

It aimed to restore a sense of "belonging" in the local community and give people a pathway back into work.

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