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The charity making life better by water

Annual Report charts continued progress

Our annual report & accounts for 2015/16 has been published today (25 July 2016), and highlights an increase in expenditure on the waterways and a growth in the number of people donating to the Trust and visiting, volunteering, and adopting stretches of its waterways.

Little Venice

The report indicates:

  • Expenditure on the waterways rose by 8% to £128 million, including work on culverts and embankments; channel relining and; 135 winter lock repairs.
  • Less disruption for boaters, including a significant drop of almost 300 days in unplanned closures compared with 2014/15.
  • An estimated 380 million visits made in total over the course of the year.
  • A 50% increase in the number of community canal adoptions in the year to nearly 150.
  • An 88% approval rating from a growing band of volunteers who gave nearly half a million hours of their time (up 17% on the previous year).
  • 15,800 Friends regularly donating to the Trust – an increase of 60% on the same point the previous year.
  • Education, youth and volunteer programmes have seen substantial increases – 64,000 children experienced the Trust's Explorers education work.

Chair, Allan Leighton, comments: "It has been a good year for the Trust as we continue to work to secure a wonderful future for the waterways.

"The growth in volunteering and partnerships with organisations as diverse as the Arts Councils in England and Wales, the Scout Association, Help for Heroes and Rolls Royce, plus numerous local authorities, charitable trusts and local canal societies, illustrates the considerable progress being made.

"Of course, it is the people who live on, use or visit the waterways that continue to make them the special places that they are. We want to continue to harness this passion and whilst reaching out to a greater diversity of communities, so that our canals and rivers can be inclusive of the millions of people living and working around them."

Strong foundations in place

Chief executive, Richard Parry, adds: "This year we have increased expenditure on the waterways and improved the overall average condition of our locks, bridges and other historic infrastructure, leading to less disruption for our boating customers. Our extensive and rich local engagement speaks clearly of the progress we are making in growing support for our work among communities and the public at large. As the Trust passes its fourth anniversary we have good reason to be optimistic that we have put in place strong foundations to rise to the challenges ahead."

The report praises the response from staff and volunteers to the Boxing Day Floods in which communities have rallied to clean up and repair their local canals and towpaths. By the end of March volunteers had spent over 3,500 hours helping with the clean-up.

Also in the year, the Trust formed Bwrdd Glandŵr Cymru to recognise and embrace the devolution of power in Wales and a joint project team formed with the Environment Agency has been looking into the potential transfer of the Environment Agency's 640 miles of river navigations to the Trust.

The Trust's Annual Public Meeting will be taking place on 22 September. For more information about attending visit

Last Edited: 25 July 2016

photo of a location on the canals
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