'More interest in canals than since the hey-day of the Industrial Revolution.'
We have reported a record year for the waterways across England and Wales, with the publication of our Annual Report & Accounts for 2014/15. We have documented the highest ever levels of interest in visiting, caring for and using its waterways:
A strong financial performance in 2014/15 saw income rise 10% to £180 million, with £137 million invested by the Trust on our charitable activities (up from £124 million in 2013/14). This included the spend on repairing and improving the condition of our 200-year old network of reservoirs, aqueducts, locks, bridges, towpaths, culverts and embankments as well as the replacement of 150 lock gates and dredging 130,000 tonnes of silt to improve the passage for boaters.
The year also saw the launch of our ambitious vision, supported by a ten-year strategy that sets out the future trajectory for the organisation. This includes wider public engagement and improved customer service, increased community involvement, support for further restoration of derelict waterways, and continued growth in volunteering.
Richard Parry, our chief executive comments: “When the Trust was first conceived, those involved must have hoped for something like the year we have enjoyed, with growing income and more work delivered – and with more interest in canals than since the hey-day of the Industrial Revolution.
“We’ve established a strong financial foundation; inspired growing interest in visiting, caring for, and using our canals and rivers; and developed an ever-widening range of relationships with third parties willing to promote, fund and support us.
“The creation of the charity provided the opportunity to secure the waterways’ long term future and to make them central to public life. Whilst we know there is much more we can do, the progress we have made shows what is possible.”
Chair Tony Hales, who will retire from the Canal & River Trust after its Annual Public Meeting in September, comments: “Our canals are better used, enjoyed and valued than ever before and our new strategy has people at its heart. I am particularly pleased that this past year has seen so many new people getting involved with our work either as volunteers or partners.
“The last three years have given me immense satisfaction, seeing the Canal & River Trust grow, thrive and attract ever increasing numbers of volunteers, supporters and partners. When we started this journey in July 2012, whilst we hoped for encouragement, we could not have envisaged the tremendous support and goodwill that we have received.”
The Canal & River Trust’s Annual Public Meeting will take place at 10am on 23 September at Church House Conference Centre, Westminster, London, SW1P 3NZ. To book a place visit: canalrivertrustapm.eventbrite.com.