The charity making life better by water

£375,000 boost for canals

A three year project to develop better environmental and community engagement across Birmingham and Greater Manchester has begun with two new Canal Community Engagement Coordinators starting this month.

The project has been made possible through a grant of £249,000 over three years from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and £127,000 funding from players of the People's Postcode Lottery (PPL).

Rhys Wynn has joined the Trust to establish and deliver a programme of community and volunteer led conservation management activities across Rochdale and Huddersfield Narrow Canals in Greater Manchester. Long term environmental projects will include:

  • Extending the existing green corridor, linking isolated populations of plant species to create habitats more resilient to environmental changes
  • Removing invasive and non-native plant species to improve conditions for key species
  • Implementing a tree and hedge management plan to improve habitat conditions for key species and enhance public use of the towpath
  • Improving water quality through targeting potentially polluting discharges

In Birmingham, Nick Cleaver joins the Trust to engage with ethnically-diverse urban communities that live around the region's waterway network. Nick will help support people on a journey from one off volunteering to long term adoption and get them actively involved in the maintenance and development of the canal.

Martha Oddy, trusts fundraising manager, said: “Thanks to these two generous grants the teams will be able to encourage people to take active long term ownership of their local canal or river and help us pioneer a more integrated model of environmental and community engagement.”

David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust's Manchester & Pennine region, said: “Rhys will be working hard within the local community on a variety of projects over the next three years to develop these fantastic green spaces. The first phase of the plan will be to survey sections of the two canals and create an ecological action plan to assess where conservation improvements should be made.”

Nick Cleaver said: “I want to get more people to feel a greater sense of ownership in the waterways which run through the very heart of their city. The people of Birmingham all share their canals amazing history and have a great opportunity to help shape the waterways' future, so it's a really exciting time to get involved.”

Last Edited: 18 June 2015

photo of a location on the canals
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