Yesterday we held our first Public Meeting at the canal-side Bond Warehouse in Birmingham.
Following a brief update on the progress of the Trust from chairman Tony Hales and chief executive Robin Evans, guests had the opportunity to explore a number of interactive information stands and speak to members of staff and volunteers.
Along with trying out the educational activities that we run and discovering the different range of material used to repair and enhance canal banks, guests were able to step aboard a workboat and talk to our maintenance staff about the work they do to keep the canals open.
The meeting was also an opportunity to provide information on how our partnership with Google is helping to increase awareness of the 2,000 mile network of towpaths. Waterways Partnership chairs, Danny Brennan and Charlotte Atkins, gave an insight into the work of their respective Partnerships and their aspirations for the future.
A common theme throughout the event was the desire and need to work in partnership to care for the historic canal network. We made it clear that we are keen to work with a range of organisations and individuals to achieve our ambition.
To emphasise this, Robin Evans and Clive Henderson, chairman of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding before the start of the meeting to recognise the mutual interests of the two charitable organisations.
Robin Evans, chief executive for the Canal & River Trust, said: “We already work closely with the IWA and this agreement both formalises and acts as a catalyst to that relationship. By working together and building on each others skills and experience we will make a greater impact on the waterways and peoples’ enjoyment of them than either of our organisations could have done alone.”
Clive Henderson, chairman of The Inland Waterways Association, said: "IWA sees that there are areas of shared interest with the Trust, where pooling our resources may help better engage with local communities to generate support from local people to care for and help maintain their local stretch of waterways, and hopefully open up new areas for fundraising.