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The charity making life better by water

Crowd stands on balcony with bunting and blue-branded marquees, looking at the canal.

Engaged people and cohesive communities

Our canals and rivers are within a 10-15-minute walk of over nine million people in England and Wales, providing vital blue space and access to nature on the doorstep.

Culture and environment

Providing access to nature

We're working with volunteers, local communities, and partners to transform our network into safe, attractive, and thriving spaces.



have actively signed up to our #PlasticsChallenge



have participated in our Art Programme since January 2021



spent by volunteers helping us

The UK faces a lack of green spaces in urban areas. There are more than eight million people without private gardens or easy access to nature. At the same time, many communities are increasingly fragmented, with loneliness and isolation on the rise.

Research shows that neighbourhoods where people are connected have fewer mental health issues.

The UK Government pledged that everyone in England will be within a 15-minute walk of green space or water.

Our canals and river navigations provide ready and easy access to nature, particularly within towns and cities, with opportunities to volunteer and engage in communities.

For people in the most deprived and disadvantaged areas, canals are often the only green space available 'on the doorstep'. But barriers to participation, both real and perceived, mean they're not widely used. We're making efforts to create a safe and inviting canal network.

Ayesha picking litter in Paddington

Ayesha loves exploring nature and being on the towpath. She decided to collect litter along the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal to help protect wildlife.

  • Read the film transcript

    I collected one to one and a half kilos of litter. I want to see the towpaths clean for us, the ducks, the fish, the birds, for everyone.

    My message to all the children who are thinking of joining the plastics challenge is let’s all do it together. Yay!

Our impact on engaging people and bringing communities together

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

Support our work

We need your support to keep canals and rivers alive. Donate today to make a difference

Explore more about our work and impact

Last Edited: 01 March 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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