Annual Report & Accounts

Read our Annual Report & Accounts to discover how we are creating living waterways that transform places and enrich lives, delivering greater wellbeing to millions.


Highlights in the 2017/18 Annual Report & Accounts include:

  • Volunteering exceeding 600,000 hours, with 96% satisfaction amongst our volunteers
  • 225 community adoptions, empowering local people to get involved
  • An improvement in the overall condition of the waterways and a rise to £131.6m in core spending on waterway infrastructure, maintenance and repairs
  • Strong investment performance which, together with our sources of income, generated over £200m
  • A rise in boat numbers to over 34,000 with the lowest ever licence evasion
  • A 15% growth in Friends to 24,000 with donations up to £6.1m, including from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery
  • A further reduction in unplanned closures to navigation
  • An improvement in towpath user satisfaction with 372m visits to our waterways and visitors to our museums up 39% to 48,000
  • Engagement with 80,000 children through our Explorers education programme
  • Green Flag status awarded to 160 miles of waterways
  • Publication of our Outcomes Measurement Framework to capture and quantify the benefits that waterways and our work make to society
  • A relaunch of our brand position to reach new audiences and better reflect the ambition to be a charity for the waterways and wellbeing

Resources expended on charitable activities

Spend on charitable activities reduced slightly from record levels last year which were supported by external funders following the 2015 winter floods, although underlying expenditure on core maintenance, repairs and infrastructure works continued to grow.


We're unusual in the charity sector as we generate around 60% of our income from commercial sources with around 3% from donations. We also have a large proportion of our total income from reliable income sources:

Many different people and organisations make this work possible – our grant from government, fees from boat owners and businesses, our investment and commercial income, lottery funds, corporate and local authority partnerships, thousands of donations from members of the public, and our dedicated volunteers who gave us over 600,000 hours of their time – we are grateful to them all.

Building Public Trust Awards

We've won the Building Public Trust Award for Reporting in Charities. The judges said: "The Canal & River Trust’s annual report hits the ground running, making it clear from the start what it does and how it adds value. The performance disclosures are open, readable and comprehensive, and there’s a strong focus on the charity’s vision, funding, challenges, and contribution from volunteers."

The judging panel also praised the clear graphical depiction of money collected, costs incurred, and funds available for spending. A member summed up: “This is really excellent reporting. I hadn’t heard of the Trust before – but once I’d read its report I felt I had very good idea of what it’s about and the outcomes it delivers for its beneficiaries.”

BPTA winner

Last date edited: 10 October 2018