Youth strategy, research and reports

Across our organisation we’re focused on outcomes and driven by insight. We’re clear about the huge benefits of involving the next generation in our current work and future plans, and we also recognise the risks of failing to engage them.

Two young ladies pushing a wheelbarrow along a towpath Young people working along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

To write our strategy for engaging more young people in our work, we looked at three things.

  1. What’s affecting young people?

A child’s background and location impacts on their wellbeing, from early years to school and beyond. Disadvantaged young people achieve poorer career outcomes, and are less likely to have access to advice and experiences of work.

Thanks to the breadth of our work, and the scale of our waterway network, we’re ideally placed to help young people overcome these challenges. 

  1. What do young people want?

We worked with a market research company to survey around 2,000 young people aged 16 to 24. This gave us valuable insight into their concerns and interests. It helped us to understand more about what the younger generation is looking for from a volunteering opportunity.

You can read the results of this survey in the information section below.

  1. How can young people help us with our work priorities?

We thought about the work we want to do and recognised that getting young people involved will help us to reach more diverse communities, open up new opportunities with partner organisations for a more sustainable future, raise awareness of our brand, promote the wellbeing benefits of our waterways in new ways, and much, much more.

Our objectives

The following long-term strategic objectives have been agreed by our trustees. By 2025:

  • 500,000 children and young people, reflective of the range of communities we serve, will each year broaden their learning and improve their skills through our waterways, museums and attractions
  • 1 million children and young people each year will engage with us through volunteering, arts, education and learning, sports, cultural activities, and social action
  • 150,000 hours of youth social action each year. In recent years we've seen a dramatic increase in both the number of young people getting involved with us and the range and diversity of youth activities and opportunities we offer.

More information

Find out more about what we've achieved recently working alongside young people.

A summary of the results of our youth volunteering survey 2019

Full results of our youth volunteering survey 2019

Year of green action impact report 2019

Desmond Family Canoe Trail impact report 2019

Last date edited: 17 December 2020