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The charity making life better by water

Delivering through partnership

We deliver through partnerships - big and small - across England and Wales to achieve far more than we could alone.

Man in a suit with a microphone giving a welcome speech in front of blue branded tents

The opportunities to help people and nature along our waterways are as varied as the canals themselves. No single organisation can hold all the answers.

From adoptions of small stretches of canal to transformational projects on a national scale, every partnership project helps us make life better by water, together.

Our partners

Every organisation, corporate partner and community group we work with is critical to keeping our waterways open and delivering for our environment and communities. Together we bring history to life, reinvigorate urban green space, improve access to everything canals have to offer, and involve local people with the decisions and work needed to keep their waterways special.

Here’s a selection of some of the organisations we’re proud to call our partner.

Active travel

Our towpaths are popular places to walk, cycle and spend time. They offer an active and low-carbon alternative to other forms of transport, whether for commuting, leisure or exercise. In places with high footfall, they can also become very busy at peak times.

We work with partners to improve our towpaths for all visitors and to promote their considerate and safe use. We consult with a wide range of waterway, cycling, walking and angling organisations including British Cycling, Sustrans, the British Canoeing Association, Ramblers and the Angling Trust. With their support we secure investment to widen and resurface towpaths, improve access and address poor lighting. We also deliver initiatives encouraging the considerate use of towpaths and safe behaviour.

Youth engagement

Partnerships are at the heart of our youth participation and engagement work, at local, regional and national levels.

We work with the Inland Waterways Association Restoration Hub and the Young Trustees Movement to offer opportunities for young people to get involved in canal restoration. With the Scouts we engage young people in social action projects across the country. And with the National Union of Students, National Citizen Service, National Youth Agency, #iwill and Sport England, we encourage youth participation in a wealth of projects helping to make a positive difference in their communities.

Water safety

We work hard to make sure everyone knows how to behave safely near water. We partner with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) to deliver important messages about water safety. And we are a key member of the National Water Safety Forum, which is responsible for drawing up the UK's National Drowning Prevention Strategy.

An important part of this work is to highlight the dangers associated with walking next to water after dark, and to encourage young people to find a different route home. We want everyone to enjoy the waterways safely. Working together means messages are clear, consistent, and memorable so everyone knows how to be safe.

Why it matters

A significant proportion of the Trust’s waterways bring nature, wildlife and access to vital green space by water to some of the most nature-depleted areas of the UK. They have a unique role to play in addressing national crises in physical and mental health, biodiversity and the climate emergency. But, as with many charities, we don’t have the all of the funds, expertise and relationships needed to deliver this alone.

Our partnerships are vital for helping us make life better by water – by enhancing green and waterside spaces, delivering nature-based solutions, and promoting inclusion and wellbeing opportunities for all.

Explore more

Find out more about the funders and volunteer partnerships that make our work possible

Last Edited: 27 March 2024

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