12 July 2012

Canal & River Trust launches today

Today is an historic day; the day in which the Government places 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in trust for the nation and the new charity, the Canal & River Trust, is launched.

Fanily next to the Grand Union Canal in Marsworth
Marsworth, Grand Union Canal
The Regent’s Canal provided a small slice of rural tranquillity right in the middle of a chaotic and bustling city
Hugh Dennis

From today, the 10 million people who visit and love the waterways will have the chance to play a greater role in making them more beautiful than ever. Here at the Trust we’re very excited about this new approach to caring for our canals and rivers, and of course we’re delighted to have H.R.H The Prince of Wales as our Patron.

The move, part of the Public Bodies Reform programme, is the largest single transfer of a public body into the charitable sector and will give communities the opportunity to get involved with the running of their local canal or river.

To mark our launch, we have unveiled our first appeal, 50 projects across the nation that will breathe new life into towpaths and riverbanks.  By pledging money or time, people can get involved in projects such as creating new habitats for rare water voles, planting linear orchards for people and wildlife, and restoring neglected towpaths. Take a look at our appeal projects, learn how to become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust and find out how you can get involved with our work.

Actor and comedian, Hugh Dennis, who is supporting the Canal & River Trust’s appeal, comments: “For me, as a Londoner, the Regent’s Canal provided a small slice of rural tranquillity right in the middle of a chaotic and bustling city, and its towpath a route to work, my running track, or just a place to watch the world go by.  The Canal & River Trust needs your help to make your towpaths even more special. Volunteering or making a small donation will make a huge difference to the people and nature along your local waterway.”

We’re very grateful to the many committed people and organisations who’ve helped us get where we are today, and have invited a number of the organisations who’ve supported us to say a few words about their hopes for the years ahead. Find out what our supporters are saying

Corporate partners

We’re pleased to have already won the support of three major corporate partners. £1m of funding is being pledged to support our conservation work thanks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Google is working with us to encourage people to discover and enjoy the wildlife along their local waterway by literally putting towpaths on the map – Google Maps.  And The Co-operative Bank will offer those who enjoy or live on the waterways the option of supporting our conservation work through everyday banking products.

Defra is also helping us get off to a great start by committing to a landmark, 15-year grant funding agreement as the bedrock to us maintain our waterways.  In addition to this, we are funded through commercial income including money from waterside property dowry, boat licences and moorings. Every penny donated by the public to the Trust will be spent directly on conserving, restoring, and enhancing the waterways.

H.R.H The Prince of Wales

We’re proud to have H.R.H The Prince of Wales as our Patron. You can listen to a message from the Prince of Wales by playing the video clip below

Join the conversation

Find out what people are saying about the launch of the Canal & River Trust on Twitter using #CRTlaunch

Read our full press release