18-year-old Amy Irwin has become the youngest person in the country to lead and inspire a canal adoption by seizing on our initiative to create greater community ownership of the nation’s waterways.
This support is invaluable to us as a new charity and we hope this will motivate others to get involved.Caroline Killeavy
Almost 50 community adoptions have been set up, or are in the pipeline, since the project was launched in July to invite communities across England and Wales to support our work by adopting mile-long lengths of canal or river.
Amy’s ‘Ford Towpath Action Team’ is now helping care for a stretch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Netherton. Set up just two months ago, the group will begin by cutting back overgrown vegetation, painting locks, and clearing graffiti and litter.
Amy explains her motivations: “I recently spoke to local residents and I discovered that they thought the canal’s appearance needed improving. I realised there was an opportunity to join the Trust’s adoption scheme so I decided to set up my own group. I want to improve the area for local residents and visitors but not just as a quick fix. We’ll look after it throughout the year and really make a difference.”
Caroline Killeavy, head of community engagement for the Canal & River Trust, says: “What Amy has done here is inspirational. It’s fantastic that someone so young has taken action in their local community to help us protect the waterways. This support is invaluable to us as a new charity and we hope this will motivate others to get involved.”