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Celebrating 10 years of enriching people's lives through waterways
On Thursday 26 November, The Waterways Trust presented its 2008/09 review and accounts at its annual meeting at National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, and announced its plans for the future, including the development of a youth engagement strategy.

Frances Done CBE, Chairman of The Waterways Trust, says:

“Since 1999 The Waterways Trust has worked to enrich people’s lives through waterways, directly raising over £15million for waterway-based projects.  We’d like to thank the many individuals and organisations whose support has made our work possible, including the hundreds of volunteers who support us across the country.

“After 10 years, we are reflecting on our achievements and looking forward to how the Trust can continue to contribute to the renaissance of the UK waterway network.  Our vision is to see the nation’s waterways supported, valued and enjoyed by everyone.  By identifying need, building partnerships, raising funds and delivering projects, the Trust is helping communities to become greener, healthier, safer, smarter and wealthier.”

Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of The Waterways Trust, explains:

“In the last year, we have secured over £1.5million for waterway-based projects.  We have continued to unlock the benefits of the nation’s waterways by building regeneration partnerships, developing and delivering projects focused on the environment, activity and health, by engaging new audiences and by encouraging volunteering and learning opportunities.  We’ve also continued our work to conserve our museum collections and build a sustainable future for all three museums.”

At the meeting Frances Done and Roger Hanbury summarised the Trust’s work over the past year.  Highlights include:

Caring for our heritage
The Trust raised funds to establish a new Heritage Boat Yard at Ellesmere Port; formed a new Museum Partnership for the Waterways Museum at Gloucester Docks; launched an appeal with Waterways World to raise money for its fleet of historic boats at Ellesmere Port; installed a second lighting scheme at Maryhill Locks on the Forth & Clyde Canal; and secured £135,000 for the Dalriada Heritage Network Project and Interpretation Programme in Scotland.

Enhancing the waterway environment
With British Waterways, the Trust secured £300,000 funding for a major new youth volunteering project in the North West; raised £20,000 through its Waterways Wildlife Appeal; and completed seven environment projects with 180 volunteers from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Promoting health
Working with Falkirk Council in Scotland, the Trust opened Action Outdoors, a new £1million activity centre on the Union Canal; worked with Leonard Cheshire Disability to launch the Waterwalks series of sponsored walks; with the Droitwich Canals Partnership created the 5.8-mile Salt to Severn Environmental Trail; raised £18,000 for the Feet First walking programme on the Forth & Clyde Canal; and recruited a canal community liaison officer in Glasgow to encourage greater use of the canal.

Accessible learning
The Trust led a film project with children from Twechar Healthy Living Centre on the Forth & Clyde Canal; overhauled 3,000 paper-based records held in the archives at the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port and created new education packages; secured funding with West Cheshire College to develop an Informal Learning Programme at National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port; and launched the Green Action volunteer training programme for 16-24 year olds in Falkirk.

Making communities stronger
With partners, the Trust organised the third annual Rochdale Canal Festival, celebrating the benefits of the restored canal and attracting over 2,500 people; contributed £40,000 towards 12 community access projects along the Thames through the Thames Appeal; increased volunteer involvement at all three museums; organised the first Bigman Canal Festival at Maryhill Locks in Glasgow to celebrate the regeneration taking place around the Forth & Clyde Canal, attracting over 3,000 visitors; and raised £300,000 towards Scents & Sensitivities project at Auchinstarry Basin in Kilsyth, creating a new sensory trail.

Regeneration through partnerships 
The Trust reached its fundraising target of £459,000 for the Droitwich Canals restoration, including £100,000 generated through the Barge Lock Appeal run with the Inland Waterways Association; with partners opened the new Droitwich Canals Gateway Park at Hanbury Locks; raised £141,000 towards Phase 1a of restoration of the Cotswold Canals; and formed three exciting new partnerships in Leicestershire, Oxford and East London to unlock the full benefits of their waterways.
The Trust’s key aims for the future include:

Harnessing the power of youth
Developing our youth involvement strategy through our work with young people with Waterways Action Squad in the North West of England and Green Action in Scotland.

Environment & heritage
Continuing to develop and support projects which enhance and improve the waterway environment and heritage - its care, sustainability, interpretation, cultural appreciation and potential as a canvas for the arts.

Improving health
Using waterways to promote healthy activity, social inclusion and an improved quality of life, including an exciting new partnership project on the Birmingham Heartland canals aiming to help tackle child obesity rates.

Improved learning
Continuing to develop accessible and innovative learning experiences which use the waterways as an outdoor classroom and develop new skills relevant to future employment.

Stronger Communities
Through events like the Rochdale Canal Festival and Bigman Festival in Glasgow, continuing to use waterways to develop a sense of pride and ownership, to build greater inclusion and participation in.  Plus offering new opportunities for volunteering, to build a sense of respect and appreciation for the locality, its history, local people and diversity.

Based on integrated partnership working, regeneration provides an improved social context and environment for investment and employment (2010 projects include: Bath, Oxford City, Leicestershire’s waterways, Cotswold Canals, Droitwich Canals and Three Mills Island in East London).

Increase volunteer involvement...
... at all three museums and in all our project work, helping to create a sustainable financial footing

Rebranding the museums at Stoke Bruerne and Gloucester Docks
Giving the museums a more local identity and cementing their own local partnerships (reverting to ‘The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne’ and ‘The Waterways Museum at Gloucester Docks’).  The museum at Ellesmere Port will continue to hold its National Waterways Museum title.
A copy of the Trust’s 2008/09 report can be seen at

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© National Waterways Museum 2007