News: Waterways, Wildlife & Wellbeing

The Canal & River Trust and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) have partnered to deliver the Waterways Wildlife and Wellbeing project. Nature conservation is at the heart of the project and activities will include increasing numbers of pollinators and small mammals, connecting people with their local waterways and engaging children through school visits.

A group of young people studying outside sat on a tarpaulin on the grass next to a canal Hinterlands encourages children to interpret what their local canal means to them

Learning will be a major theme of the project. 500 schools in the West Midlands will gain free membership of the CLOtC and 250 of those schools will have the chance to engage in mentoring and professional development activities to build their confidence in incorporating learning outside the classroom into the curriculum.

At seven sites linked to the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Canal & River Trust will deliver new hands-on nature conservation activities delivered both in the classroom and on the towpath. These activities will build understanding of the canals as a corridor for nature, a resource for wellbeing and a valuable community asset in some of the most densely populated urban areas of the West Midlands. Activities will supplement and build upon the existing Canal & River Trust Explorers programme which delivers to tens of thousands of children each year nationally.

Research has shown that spending time by water has a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing. This is particularly important for children and young people who have suffered unprecedented disruption to their lives and schooling in the past two years. Spending time by water and taking part in hands on activities will give children and young people not just an understanding of, but a deeper connection to nature and help grow the next generation of waterways supporters.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a short-term competitive fund to kick-start environmental renewal whilst creating and retaining a range of jobs. It is open to environmental charities and their partners to deliver projects in England.

The aim of the fund is to support projects that are ready to deliver and focus on nature restoration, nature-based solutions and connecting people with nature, delivering against the goals of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP), whilst helping to sustain and build capacity in the sector.

The £40million fund has been developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies, including Natural England, Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and others. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is distributing and monitoring this government money.