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The charity making life better by water

Dharma Kovvuri appointed as Chair of our Regional Advisory Board North West

We have secured Dharma Kovvuri as the chair of the region’s Advisory Board.

Man in suit leaning on rail

The appointment of Dharma Kovvuri, who has a senior 30-year career based in the North West and is currently a Dean and Academic Director at the University of Central Lancashire, comes as our campaigns to raise the funds and support needed to keep the region’s canals alive, a 250-year old network that includes historic locks, bridges, aqueducts and tunnels – some of the finest industrial heritage in the world.

The voluntary role, for an initial three-year term, will see Dharma lead the region’s Advisory Board, as we seek to connect with communities, including businesses and local authorities, as well as individual donors and volunteers.

Enjoying the waterways

Dharma comments: “Supporting thousands of jobs in consumer industries and providing vital habitat for wildlife, the North West’s canal network has shaped our communities and been part of our landscape for hundreds of years. Our canals have been reinvented from commercial thoroughfares to transport goods, to a vital resource of today, where millions of us living in the region can access nature and enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of being by water, on our doorstep.

“I am delighted to lead the Trust’s Advisory Board in the North West at such a pivotal time. With extreme weather and frequent storms taking such a devastating toll on the canal landscape, the Board and I will work with our Trust colleagues to keep these amazing spaces open. We will seek to collaborate with stakeholders who share the same passion to make the canals accessible to diverse communities to use and enjoy for relaxation, travel, exercise, or leisure.”

The North West

With 1.6 million people in the North West living within a ten-minute walk of their nearest canal, the region covers 439 miles, from Cumbria and Lancashire in the north, down into Cheshire. It includes the major cities of Liverpool and Manchester as well as iconic canal landmarks and attractions such as Anderton Boat Lift, the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, and Liverpool South Docks.

From Lancashire, Dharma has been a member of the our North West Regional Advisory Board since 2022 and is the Dean of the University of Central Lancashire’s Burnley Campus and the Academic Director of Apprenticeships. He has 30 years of experience working in higher education and has extensive experience working with businesses and brings board experience from working with charities. He has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders to grow educational opportunities for residents in the Borough of Burnley through the development of the University’s Canalside Campus that sits alongside the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Dharma is passionate about creating educational opportunities including apprenticeships to support social mobility.

Connecting the countryside to the city

Jon Horsfall, our regional director of North West, said: “With such a strong affinity for the North West and its waterways, we are delighted Dharma is chairing our Regional Advisory Board. From Lancaster to Liverpool and Rochdale through Manchester to the River Weaver, this network of waterways in the region is diverse, connecting the countryside to the city. I’m looking forward to working with him to connect communities, businesses and partners to this valuable and unique resource on their doorstep.”

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

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Last Edited: 03 May 2024

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