The new trial Partnerships, alongside a third trial already underway on the Kennet & Avon Canal, will work with local waterway managers until the new waterways charity becomes fully operational in 2012.
The Partnerships held their inaugural meetings on 31 May (North West) and 15 June (West Midlands) where they started the process of working through management plans, looking at how to engage new volunteers and identifying potential sources of additional funds to help look after the waterways.
The chairs of the Partnerships, Professor Steven Broomhead in the North West and Peter Mathews CMG in the West Midlands, worked with Roger Hanbury of The Waterways Trust and with the local waterway managers, Debbie Lumb and Dean Davies respectively, to identify the founding members.
Enthusiasm for the waterways
Roger Hanbury, chief executive at The Waterways Trust, comments: “The applications to join the trial Local Partnerships show how much enthusiasm there is for the waterways, and the substantial body of support that the new waterways charity will be able to tap into. The Partnerships are made up of strong individuals who are committed to ensuring the canals and rivers are managed effectively and efficiently, for the benefit of local boaters and neighbouring communities. Working with the local waterway managers, this is a great opportunity to forge a new working model where lessons can be learnt that will inform the new waterways charity.
“The Partnerships will benefit from the wealth of knowledge held by their members, whose experience spans working with local authorities and private sector organisations, boating, tourism, environment and heritage, education and training, fundraising, volunteering, community engagement, health and public relations.”
Subject to forthcoming consultation by Defra, each of the existing eleven administrative waterway regions in England and Wales will have Local Partnership Boards appointed by the new charity to guide local decisions. The trials being set up now will provide important lessons ahead of 2012 about the scope of the charity's Local Partnership Boards and how they should operate.
First published 14th June 2011