We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Youth engagement advisory group

We're busy providing young people with exciting opportunities across England and Wales.

Lead volunteer with the Canal & River Trust Lead volunteer with the Canal & River Trust

Providing opportunities for engagement and increasing understanding of the waterways is critical to inspiring a new generation of enthusiasts who will ensure their long-term sustainability.

A varied programme of youth engagement projects has been delivered in the past under our Waterways Action Squad brand. These include: a north west based youth volunteering project for 16-25 year olds, a 6-month employability, volunteering and personal development programme for 16-19 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) and the creation of a youth activity centre at the National Waterways Museum.

Ambitions and aspirations

The youth engagement advisory group understands more fully the wider context of engaging young people, so that we can plan and deliver effective, innovative programmes. 

The group also helps with issues of significance relating to engaging young people, especially those that may be innovative or controversial. 

Meet the team

Chloe Donovan (chair)

Young facilitator in East of England and development officer for Young People's Skills.

  • Active in youth participation since the age of 12
  • Member of Connexions youth council
  • Was member of the UK Youth Parliament
  • Led planning group for Young Partners Award
  • Currently a member of the Canal & River Trust Council

Danny Brennan

Danny has worked at executive director level on regeneration, planning, transport, environment and community development in English public service for the past decade in the East Midlands, South Yorkshire, Norfolk and presently, the North West.  He is currently the Chair of the East Midlands Waterway Partnership.

Fiona Ellison

Fiona is the campaign manager (Voluntary & Public Sector) at Step Up To Serve, the organisation behind the #iwill campaign. She leads on work to support the voluntary and public sector to open up more opportunities for young people to take part in youth social action.

  • Previously, Fiona was head of Youth Opportunities at GoThinkBig. Delivering a fresh and innovative work skills and experience opportunities for young people from parent companies O2 and Bauer Media.
  • Formerly student opportunities manager at National Union of Students (NUS). Before taking on the role Fiona was 2012 programme manager responsible for building a programme of work to engage students and students’ union from across the UK in activity inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Fiona was a trustee of Volunteering England between 2007 and 2012 and prior to that on the board of Student Volunteering England.  

Jamie Agombar

Jamie is head of Sustainability at the National Union of Students.

  • Over his ten years at NUS, Jamie has created a strong student voice on sustainability, and a compelling vision for the sector
  • Jamie has grown NUS’s sustainability function from a single role to 25 full-time dedicated sustainability staff, with NUS delivering successful individual and institutional sustainability change projects into 100 universities and colleges
  • NUS is regarded as a strong agent for change on sustainability, with Jamie sitting on many key UK higher education sector committees, including the Higher Education Funding Council for England Leadership, Governance and Management Strategic Advisory Committee, and the Higher Education Academy Education for Sustainable Development Advisory Group
  • In February 2014 Jamie won the Guardian University Award for Inspiring Leadership for work on sustainability

Jon Boagey

Operations director and deputy chief executive at the National Youth Agency (NYA).

  • Has worked with NYA since 1994 in a variety of roles
  • In Thailand and Laos set up public information programme for young refugees, and at the British Refugee Council in London
  • Trained as youth worker and community volunteer
  • Extensive senior management experience

Liam Burns

Liam is currently head of Policy and Public Affairs for The Scout Association, a movement of over 450,000 young people and 100,000 adult volunteers, supporting the organisation to increase its impact and profile in changing the lives of young people. Before this Liam was President of the National Union of Students in Scotland and UK wide.

Caroline Killeavy

Head of community engagement

Lucie Unsworth

National youth engagement manager


Last date edited: 3 May 2016