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The charity making life better by water

North West Regional Advisory Board

The main purpose of our regional advisory board is to connect people and communities with the local canals and rivers here in the North West region.

We recently held our North West Annual Meeting which is still available to view. If you have any questions please contact us at

Upcoming Meetings:

There is nothing to show at this time

Meet our regional advisory board members

Chair - Dharma Kovvuri

Dharma is the Dean of UCLan Burnley Campus and is responsible for developing UCLan's academic courses and business engagement in East Lancashire. He worked with local stakeholders to secure funding for the Campus Masterplan and helped develop an inspirational Canalside Campus in Burnley. Dharma has 30 years’ experience working in Higher Education in a variety of roles such as Dean of Business School, Head of Undergraduate Programmes and Associate Dean (International). Dharma is the academic adviser to Sino-British Applied Industry Relevant programme in China. At a regional level Dharma is a member of Burnley Bondholders’ Focus Group, on the North-West Advisory Board of the Canals and Rivers Trust, Board Member of Preston Youth Zone, a founder of the Lancashire Levy Transfer Network (created to distribute unspent levy to SMEs and charities) and was previously a committee member of the Institute of Directors, Lancashire Branch. At a national level he is the Vice-Chair for Degree Apprenticeship Working Group for Chartered Association of Business Schools. Dharma’s qualifications include Higher National Diploma in Business and Finance, BA (Hons) Management and Organisation Studies and Masters in Business Administration. He is also a Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Gerry Proctor MBE

Gerry was born in Liverpool, educated at St Mary's College, Crosby and Ushaw College, University of Durham (BAHons Theology). He worked in St Helens, particularly with young people, from 1977-1985 when he volunteered for work in Ecuador and Bolivia with deprived communities for six years.

He returned to Liverpool to work in the Dovecot and Knotty Ash neighbourhoods of the city from 1991-2003 when he moved into an apartment on the site of the former Herculaneum Dock. He is chair of Engage Liverpool CIC which he helped to found with other residents and they work to improve the quality of life and sustainability of city centre living. Gerry received an MPhil and an MBE in 2013.

Rt Hon Sir Robert Atkins

Robert has been involved in or associated with canals, rivers and waterways for many years. Whether as a former boat-owner or as Minister for the Waterways, he has had a strong commitment to the past, present and future of one of Britain's vital heritage, tourist and environmental assets. Robert has extensive experience and connections to Local and National Government as a significant beneficial contribution to the Board's activities.

Lukman Patel

Lukman is the current Chief Executive and former Chief Operating Officer of Burnley Borough Council. A solicitor by profession, Lukman was formerly the Head of Governance, Property, Law, and Regulation at Burnley Borough Council and the Head of Legal (Environment) at Trafford Borough Council. Born and raised in Pennine Lancashire, Lukman has a strong affinity with the Leeds & Liverpool canal. He has a particular passion to support the improvement of the canal supporting appropriate investment and development in and around the canal corridor and the work of social enterprises. He has a strong desire to implement the Burnley Town Centre and Canalside Masterplan. Lukman lives in East Lancashire with his young family and enjoys cycling and swimming when he can find the time.

Last Edited: 03 April 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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