We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Adopt a canal

Could you adopt a canal and make a difference to your local community?

Is there a stretch of canal or river near you which could do with a spot of tender loving care?

We know that many people want to make a positive difference to their local community. Our adoption schemes mean that canals and rivers can play a part in this. We want to help more people to get involved with their local canal or river by encouraging community groups to adopt a stretch of nearby waterway.

“We don't ask adoption groups to work alone, we're really keen on working in partnership together and we’re very much here to help. Above all we want people to have fun!" Edd Moss, national volunteering manager

Who can adopt?

We talk about 'community groups' but know that this is a really wide range of organisations. Typically we work with Scout and Guide groups, Parish Councils, Residential Associations but this list could go on for ever. Adoption schemes can also be taken up by several groups together.

If you think that your group might be interested and could make real improvements for other local people, please get in touch with us.

Hear from our adopters

Groups in the North

Groups in the Midlands

Groups in the South

What's involved?

We ask for a commitment of at least one day a month for 12 months. We want groups to work with us to make improvements to their local or river so that everyone can benefit.

Tasks could include:

  • keeping the canal and towpath clean, smart and clear of obstructions
  • making improvements to access and facilities
  • recording and improving wildlife habitats
  • promoting the waterway to other local people
  • running events and guided walks

We will work closely with you, and help you to make a difference. We can also work together on funding bids to apply for money through funds such as the plastic bag levy.

Want to know more?

Adoption schemes help members of local communities connect with one another and with other adoption groups along the canal. So ‘Connecting Communities’ is the theme of our new adoption handbook

It tells you all about adoption schemes, what others are doing and how you can prepare to be part of this important community programme.

And you can see how it works in practice. Our video visits the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire where the Blisworth Canal Partnership have transformed their local stretch and explains how you can do the same.

Corporate adoptions

Could your company adopt a nearby stretch of one of our canals or rivers?

Adopting about a mile of canal or river means making a regular commitment to help us look after it for at least a year. These corporate adoption schemes have been very successful in the past, and everyone involved stands to benefit greatly from the relationship.

For more information on the adoption scheme as a whole please read the Waterway Adoption Handbook.

If you are interested in talking about adopting a stretch of canal or river on behalf of your company please email volunteer@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Scout group adoption Scout group adoption

Last date edited: 3 February 2017