The Report, which will be presented at our Annual Meeting in Ellesmere Port today, highlights a significant increase in voluntary support for and investment in the waterways, including:
- Nearly £1million of voluntary donations, helping to fund community projects, improve wildlife habitats and repair waterway heritage
- Over 200,000 hours of time given by dedicated volunteers
- 17 corporate partners pledged support including Marks & Spencer, Google and People's Postcode Lottery
- Nearly £6m partnership funding secured to improve wildlife habitat, towpath access and repairs to historic structures
- Over 9,000 members of the public walked through drained lock chambers, or visited lock gate workshops, to learn more about the Trust's £50m winter conservation and repair programme
Tony Hales, Canal & River Trust chairman, said: “We have made a solid start since our launch last July and every day I see new evidence of how the creation of the Trust is liberating our staff and getting us closer to the communities that use and love our wonderful waterways.
“But this is just the beginning. We know that the waterways still face enormous challenges. We still need more investment. We face the growing threat of climate change to our infrastructure and water supplies. And we need more people to follow the example of those individuals and communities who are getting out and caring for the waterways and wildlife on their doorstep. We must never go back to the bad old days of the last century when so many canals were lost because too many people took them for granted.”
Richard Parry, who this week takes over as chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, commented: “I am very fortunate to be joining the Trust at such an exciting point in its development. Seeing the work that the Trust does, and the bond that so many communities have with their local canals and rivers, has been instrumental in my decision to join the Trust. We look forward to inspiring many more people to enjoy our waterways and to support the vital work we do to keep them open.”
The Canal & River Trust's Report & Accounts represent the founding accounts for the charity. They cover the period from 2 October 2011 to 31 March 2013, from the establishment of the Trust, through the transfer of 2,000 miles of canals and rivers from state control and the Trust's first nine months of trading.