Canoeing and the community

Greg Brookes, our new Coast to Coast programme manager tells us why he's excited about getting started.

As the new programme manager for the Desmond Family Canoe Trail I am pleased to be joining the Canal & River Trust.

The Desmond Family Canoe Trail is an exciting and innovative project aimed at creating the first national canoe trail from Liverpool in the West to Goole in the East using the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the Aire & Calder Navigation.

We're going to identify 10 key locations along the route, engaging young people and their families through 17 Canoe Action Squads. Working with key partners identified in local communities, young people will direct the shape and delivery of activities and identify any support centred upon their needs and those of the community.

Love of canoeing

My experience and background developed from my love of canoeing, I would spend each and every available hour at my local centre, eventually persuading my youth worker to put me forward for a coaching course. I passed and never looked back, the phrase 'like a duck to water' was never more appropriate, I was happy in it, on it and even under it, and began to use my enthusiasm to inspire those around me to try canoeing for the first time.

More recently I have focused more on youth engagement and how outdoor education experiences and learning can be used to increase confidence, build resilience and create opportunities.

A partnership

I believe that youth work is a partnership, a journey that you take together with young people, empowering them to take ownership of their decisions and direct the support that our Trust can provide to enable them to achieve and maximise their potential.

I am a professionally qualified youth and community worker and qualified coach/instructor/leader in many adventure sports including canoeing & kayaking, sailing and cycling and enjoy taking part in these activities with friends and family.

As a keen canoeist and cyclist I have completed a number of long distance trips by canoe and bike including the River Dordogne in France and cycling London to Paris to raise money for Diabetes UK.

Get involved

If you're aged between 15 and 25 and would like more information about our Canoe Action Squads please email


Last date edited: 7 May 2015

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