We've published our 2013/14 Annual Report & Accounts at our Annual Meeting in Birmingham.
Despite a year of extremes, from a very dry summer to extreme winter rainfall, our first full year’s reporting shows a promising foundation for our new charity. This includes a growth in the number of people volunteering to help and a strong commercial performance, which has led to greater than planned spend on repairing and looking after the network.
Highlights for the year include:
Tony Hales, chairman of Canal & River Trust, comments: “The weather has thrown everything at us this year as we’ve had to contend with both water shortage and deluge, reminding us just how much care and attention our historic and fragile infrastructure needs.
"Despite this we have been able to hold our own and I am so proud of the way our staff and growing band of volunteers have responded. One of the really exciting changes has been the way so many more people are now involved in running and helping the Trust and I’d like to thank all our employees, volunteers, Friends and all our other financial supporters and partners; and everyone who uses, enjoys and loves the waterways.”
Completing his first year as chief executive, Richard Parry comments: “My first year with the Trust has been thoroughly exhilarating and enjoyable. I have relished the opportunity to get out and meet the people who care for and enjoy the wonderful canals and rivers we’re responsible for. This year we have honed our long term strategy, which includes building the broad support that is so important for the future of the waterways. We are also putting the customer at the centre of all the work we do, with a great emphasis on being open and involving others in our decision-making.
“In financial terms we had a successful year, beating our target for income by over £5m and spending more on additional care of the canals as a result. As an illustration of our increased focus on listening to our customers we committed around £1m of the extra funds to clearing some of the off-side vegetation that boaters had told us was a priority.
“It’s an exciting year ahead. Continued good financial performance means that we will be able to spend more than planned. We have put aside funds for additional vegetation work this autumn, as well as further dredging and maintenance that will directly improve the experience for our customers. We’re doing more to stir interest in the next generation of canal enthusiasts, we have ambitious targets for volunteering and a series of summer open days over the coming weeks to showcase more of our work to the wider community.”