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News article created on 24 June 2011

National waterways bodies to join together

An agreement has been reached in principle for The Waterways Trust to merge its operations with the planned new waterways charity (NWC) when it is established in England & Wales next year.

Over the last 12 years we have learnt many lessons which will be important for the new charity. Frances Done, chairman of The Waterways Trust

The merger will enable The Waterways Trust and NWC to pool their strengths and resources in creating a unique new national charity to engage with supporters, partners and funders.

By joining forces the organisations will bring together over 2,000 miles of historic canals, rivers and docks, three important waterways museums, the national waterways collection and national waterway archives. The merger will ensure that NWC will be able to draw on an enormous pool of experience and expertise in disciplines ranging from engineering and conservation to marketing, fundraising, volunteering and education.

In Scotland, where the waterways will remain in public ownership, The Waterways Trust will continue to grow its reach and influence focussing on the needs of Scotland’s waterways, working with BW Scotland and its many stakeholders.

Tony Hales, chairman designate of the new waterways charity, said: “This is tremendous news and will ensure that a very large part of the country’s precious waterway heritage will be held in trust for the nation. The joining together of NWC and The Waterways Trust will give the new waterways charity an enormous boost, not just by combining the physical structures and artefacts that make the waterways so unique, but through the collective knowledge and passion that each organisation’s staff and volunteers bring with them.”

Enormous boost

Frances Done, chairman of The Waterways Trust, added: “We are delighted to be able support the new waterways charity in this way. Over the last 12 years we have learnt many lessons which will be important for the new charity. We have also seen success in a number of key areas including fundraising, building partnerships and attracting and working with volunteers, and look forward to building on these as part of the new waterways charity. We are delighted also that the work of the Trust will continue in Scotland building on our considerable achievements and focussing on the needs of Scotland’s waterways.”

The full detail of the merger will be developed over the coming months, with The Waterways Trust continuing with its programme of work. The NWC is expected to launch in April 2012, or soon afterwards, and The Waterways Trust's project-based fundraising and delivery work, and its role in building partnerships in England and Wales, will continue within the new charity.

The Waterways Trust’s three museums, in Gloucester, Ellesmere Port and Stoke Bruerne, will be transferred as a group and continue to be managed together in the new charity building on their current excellent support from a wide range of stakeholders.

First published 24th June 2011.