Charitable trusts and foundations

Charitable trusts and foundations are helping us to increase our impact on people and their communities through generous grants.

A boater passing through a canal lock in Sowerby Bridge A boater and canal lock in Sowerby Bridge

This vital funding enables us to embark on new projects, using our waterways and museums as unique spaces that make a difference to people’s lives.

Charitable grants help us to achieve much more so that an increasing number of people can get out there and enjoy all that the waterways have to offer. From education and arts initiatives to projects bringing communities together to enhance heritage sites and protect their local environment.

You can help us to care for our historic waterways by making a donation through your charitable trust or foundation. You can choose to support our overall work with an unrestricted grant, which will enable us to protect and care for our iconic waterways or you can support a particular project, location or theme.

Caring for the environment 

Volunteers planting on Oxbow Island, River Lee Volunteers planting on Oxbow Island, River Lee

Our environment: protecting biodiversity, tackling pollution and the climate crisis

Our waterways provide vital habitat corridors that connect wildlife in urban and rural areas and we also have 63 nationally protected ‘Sites of Special Scientific Interest’ (SSSIs). Our environmental work includes planting and maintaining our towpath hedgerows, trees and plants to provide food and shelter for birds, water voles, fish and otters.  Our towpaths also provide healthy alternative travel routes and we are committed to reducing the amount of litter and plastic that is finding its way into our oceans.

A gift towards greening our waterways will help to protect the planet and preserve nature and beauty on our doorsteps. 

Our heritage: saving heritage at risk

Anderton Boat Lift, River Weaver Anderton Boat Lift, River Weaver

Our canals are home to almost 3,000 listed structures as well as 50 ancient monuments and 5 UNESCO world heritage sites, ranging from milestones and lock gates to historic bridges. tunnels and buildings and even a Victorian boat lift. We also have a number of museums and visitor attractions that tell the story of Britain’s canals throughout the ages, including our nationally accredited National Waterways Museum.

Your gift could support a particular heritage asset, helping us to preserve our unique waterways heritage for future generations

Our schools work: inspiring young people 

School children at Cambrian Wharf School trip to Cambrian Wharf

Our 200-year-old waterway network has some remarkable feats of engineering, that demonstrate how science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects can apply to the world around us. We are actively working with a range of schools in urban areas close to a canal to offer exciting and innovative practical learning for both primary and secondary school pupils.

Find more information on our primary schools programme  

Our arts offering: connecting communities 

Sculpture "The Hatchling" by Joanna Rajkowska The Hatchling by Joanna Rajkowska

It is proven that the arts have a powerful and lasting effect on people's wellbeing, bringing a sense of joy and connection, which is particularly needed to help communities recover from enforced isolation due to Covid-19. Our linear network of canals lends itself very well to a wide range of community arts projects, including a national trail of waterway art, floating libraries, dance, poetry and music. 

Read more about Arts on the Waterways

Your gift will help us to create vibrant corridors of culture through urban areas, enriching the lives of local communities and making art, in all its forms, accessible to everyone.

Trusts and Foundations that have previously supported us, or are current donors include:

Waterloo Foundation supported our Unlocking the Severn Programme fish pass work over three years.

Wolfson Foundation supported the preservation and repurposing of our iconic Roundhouse building in Birmingham, as well as work at our National Waterways Museum.

Garfield Weston Foundation has previously supported projects at our National Waterways Museum.             

Ways to contact us:

Our Trusts and Grants team is available from 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday. 

Please email or

Last date edited: 9 May 2022