Boaters' Update Launch Special July 2012
It’s happened! As you may have guessed by the title, as of 2 July 2012, the Canal & River Trust officially manages, for the benefit of the nation, 2,000 or so miles of waterways. Today, 12 July, we’re celebrating this historic step up and down the country. We hope you’re as excited as we are. Of course, we still want to keep boaters up to date with all the latest news and information so expect to hear from The Trust on a regular basis.
In this launch special you’ll find a link to our YouTube channel where we have a video message from our patron, HRH The Prince of Wales. You’ll also find clips from one of our first celebrity supporters, comedian Hugh Dennis, and a commemorative poem by the ‘Bard of Barnsley’ Ian McMillan, among others. Other celebs have also pledged their support to the Trust – it’s covered below along with news of our first corporate partners. We’ll also tell you about the Trust’s new Friends scheme, and our launch appeal to breathe new life into neglected towpaths. Of course as a boat owner you already support the Trust through your licences, but we want to encourage many more people to become active supporters of the waterways.
Firstly though, let’s start with a message from our chairman, Tony Hales:
“This month marks an exciting new chapter in the history of the nation’s waterways. With the formation of the Canal & River Trust, the Government has put 2,000 miles of canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks into trust for the people of England and Wales.
“The Trust’s formation marks the unprecedented and largest transfer in the UK of state-owned infrastructure to the charitable sector. It also brings together the nation’s historic waterways (including the third largest collection of Listed Structures in the country) with the museums, collections and archives of The Waterways Trust with whom we have joined.
“As a new charity it is important that we set out our stall from the start. We have published our strategic priorities and launched our Friends scheme. We haven’t forgotten that boating, and boaters, have driven the revival of the waterways for a generation. Now we want to reach out to the millions of people who regularly use our towpaths and show how they can make a tangible difference to their enjoyment of the waterways. As an existing supporter, you’ll know, more than most, that the rejuvenation of many waterways has been founded on the tireless efforts of fundraisers, volunteers and our committed workforce. With this in mind we have unveiled 50 local appeal projects around the country to breathe new life into local towpaths and riverbanks by encouraging new wildlife, engaging with communities or restoring important industrial heritage.
“We have been incredibly lucky in having the support of a huge number of individuals, including many boaters, and organisations in getting the Trust off to the best possible start. The Prince of Wales has generously agreed to be our Patron. We also now have a fully populated governance structure with an exceptional cadre of members and specialist advisers at both a national and local level. All these people have given us a real vote of confidence in the future of the Trust and the waterways we care for.
“I am sure you share my excitement and enthusiasm for the Canal & River Trust and our ambition to make our waterways even more special for everyone who uses them.”
HRH The Prince of Wales.
We are absolutely delighted that The Prince of Wales is the Canal & River Trust’s founding Patron. As a passionate advocate for British heritage, nature, communities and tourism, The Prince will be an important voice of support for the Trust. The Prince’s patronage is further testimony to the incredible and wide-ranging support the Canal & River Trust has already received, and an important milestone in our journey towards establishing this exciting new charity.
A day of celebration…
The legislative birth of the Canal & River Trust on 2 July 2012 may have passed unnoticed to some members of the public. As a well-informed boater, you probably knew. Well to make sure everyone knows, today, 12 July 2012, we are publicly celebrating the launch.
Up and down the country Waterway Partnerships and Trust staff are celebrating and shouting from the proverbial rooftops. We want the world, of course we’ll settle for slightly less, to know we’re here and we want help via donations or volunteering to make the nations’ canals and rivers as good as they can be. So, if you’re on a social media website today you can help by visiting our Facebook page and spread the word by ‘sharing’ our posts. Alternately if micro-blogging site Twitter is your thing, please re-tweet us!
We’re not the only ones excited…
“Since 1963 RBOA has been the only UK wide organisation dedicated solely to the needs of residential boaters, wherever, however and on whatever type of vessel they live. We warmly welcome the Canal & River Trust and eagerly look forward to working alongside it to ensure that residential boating continues to contribute towards the vitality and sustainability of the waterways; and for the good of all who love our waterborne way of life.”
Alan Wildman, Chairman, Residential Boat Owners’ Association
"The canals have come a long way over the past half century, from the demise of canal carrying and of little importance to becoming a leisure activity enjoyed by millions in different ways. We would hope that the Canal & River Trust can continue to improve the canals and the historical structures surrounding them for future generations."
Tim Parker, Chairman, Association of Pleasure Craft Operators
"IWA has promoted independence for the waterways since our inception. We then called it a Conservancy and our co-founder Aickman was its first proponent, so of course we now welcome the Canal & River Trust and we look forward to working with you to help bring the wider 'conservancy' concept for all inland waterways a major step closer."
Clive Henderson, Chairman, Inland Waterways Association
“The Canal & River Trust is the opportunity to secure a thriving waterway system for all to enjoy whist protecting this unique asset for future generations. The Trust will create a feeling of public involvement and ownership so essential for the future of associated leisure pursuits and employment opportunities. AWCC looks forward to helping create this future.”
Paul Le Blique, Chairman, Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs
“This is an exciting period in the history of our canals. By placing our waterways in trust for the nation, we are giving all those who love our rivers and canals an opportunity to get involved in how their local river or canal is run and help to provide a bright future for our historic canals. We have got the new charity off to the best possible start and now it needs the help of all those that use and cherish our waterways.”
Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment
“This Government is determined to deliver public services in different, better ways and that’s just what this new charity will do. The Canal & River Trust will empower the very people who know British canals and waterways the best to get involved in how they are run. This is the Big Society in action – and because it’s also the largest single transfer of a public body into the charitable sector, it’s also a major milestone in our programme to reform quangos.”
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office
Widen your circle of Friends by becoming ours…
Distinguished British actor David Suchet CBE, popular television presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff, journalist and television presenter John Craven and renowned Actor Timothy West CBE have all agreed to become the first ‘Friends’ of the charity. Their support as ‘Friends’ will include a regular monthly donation to the Trust, which will help protect and enhance the waterways for both people and wildlife.
David Suchet, famed for his role as fastidious Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, is a dedicated and vocal waterways supporter and long-time boat owner. He says: “Once on a canal boat, you get a real sense of nature around you, even in cities. They offer peace and tranquility in a very hectic world. I am delighted to be one of the first ‘Friends’ of the Canal & River Trust and to help protect this unique environment.”
Miranda Krestovnikoff is a familiar face on television, presenting wildlife and conservation items for programmes including The One Show and Coast. Miranda is also a writer and a qualified diver. She says: “Our waterways provide a haven for people and wildlife and I am delighted that, as a Friend of the Canal & River Trust, I will be able to help protect this precious environment for future generations to enjoy.”
John Craven’s television career has spanned 40 years and he still appears on Countryfile investigating issues affecting the British countryside. John says: "Over the years I have explored many canals. I grew up visiting the Five Rise flight of locks at Bingley on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and taking a narrowboat across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct left me lost for words. As a Friend of the Canal & River Trust I am helping to ensure that more people can explore, experience and enjoy our waterways just as I have, for many years to come."
Timothy West, a renowned actor from stage and screen, is passionate about boating and can often be seen on his narrowboat with wife Prunella Scales. He comments: “The Canal & River Trust is there to protect, make available, and spread the word about, the wonderful system of rivers and canals throughout the UK and I am proud to give it my support".
‘Friends’ of the Canal & River Trust will receive a range of benefits including: a ‘Cool Canals’ guidebook offering inspiration for days out, a ‘Friends’ card which gives exclusive offers and discounts to museums and attractions across the waterways, regular e-mail updates and a tri-annual magazine, full of exciting new ways to enjoy the UK’s canals.
From as little as £3.00 per month for individuals and £5.00 per month for families, the Canal & River Trust’s ‘Friends’ scheme is open to everyone to enjoy. Every penny donated by ‘Friends’ of the Canal & River Trust will be spent directly on work to conserve, restore, enhance and educate people about the UK’s waterways.
Global brands partner Canal & River Trust
£1m of funding is being pledged to the Trust thanks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Google is encouraging people to discover and enjoy the wildlife along their local waterway by literally putting towpaths on the map – Google Maps. And a partnership with The Co-operative Bank will offer the 10.5 million people who already enjoy or live on the waterways the option of supporting the conservation work of new Trust through everyday banking products.
Tony Hales, chairman of the Canal & River Trust, commented: “We are delighted that these exciting partners have come on board as we launch. This is a huge vote of confidence in the Canal & River Trust and recognition of the important role it will play as the guardian of one of the nation’s environmental treasures. We’re looking forward to announcing some of the exciting initiatives we are planning together later in the year.”
Launch appeals start at a local level
Excited about the Erewash? Captivated by Caen Hill? Loving the Llangollen? Fanatical about Fenny Compton? Crazy about the Chesterfield?
Hopefully you get the drift – as part of the Trust’s launch we’ve started 50 local appeals to inspire local communities and towpath users to dig deep, sometimes metaphorically, sometimes not, and breathe new life into their local towpath. It would be great if you could help us spread the word about these appeals. The full list can be found on the ‘get involved’ section our new website.
You don’t need us to tell you but…
Your collective rain dances have worked. Please stop now. Because of the unprecedented levels of rain we’ve been able to lift all drought-associated restrictions. Visit the ‘managing water’ section of our new website.