A Round-Up of IWA's Activities in 2013

Created on 16/12/2013

With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, we've taken the opportunity to celebrate some of the extensive campaigning work we've been able to carry out during 2013 with the invaluable support of members and volunteers across the country.

IWA does more for boaters than any other organisation. This year, IWA continued its extensive and varied campaigning work for the benefit of Britain's inland waterways for all users. IWA's major campaigns covered the proposed transfer of the Environment Agency navigations to Canal & River Trust (CRT), mitigating the effect of the HS2 high speed railway on the waterways, as well as raising awareness and reducing the spread of invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam. IWA also campaigned about congested visitor mooring sites, the lack of long term offline mooring sites, European bureaucracy around the supply of red diesel and the need for greater expenditure and coverage on dredging and vegetation management. Additionally, IWA successfully influenced various consultations including the CRT Business Licence Consultation.

At a local level, IWA branches have continued to support and campaign for local waterway issues by monitoring planning applications and responding to consultations, organising walks, meetings and other events to promote local canals and rivers as well as making donations to local projects.

Work parties and clean-ups: Recently, IWA branches have become more active organising work parties and clean ups thanks to the appointment of a Branch Campaign Officer in 2012 (Alison Smedley) and a Branch Campaign Assistant in 2013 (Stefanie Preston). IWA volunteers organised and took part in 167 work parties during 2013 (compared to 53 in 2012 and 22 in 2011). These work parties took place on 28 different waterways throughout the UK, totalling an estimated 1619 volunteer days. Activities included towpath construction, vegetation clearance, litter picking, graffiti removal, Himalayan Balsam slashing, painting, planting and installing mooring rings. Take a look at some of the recent volunteer work party round-ups.
Grants: In 2013, IWA gave about £30,000 towards waterway restoration and other projects, through its local branches, grants via IWA's Restoration Committee and contrbutions towards campaign rallies.

Waterway Recovery Group: IWA spent £90,000 on its Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) restoration Canal Camp working holidays and WRG other activities.

In 2013, WRG organised 23 Canal Camps, providing expertise and volunteers to restoration projects all over the UK, including the Cromford, Uttoxeter, Lichfield, Chesterfield, Wilts & Berks, Swansea, Cotswold, Monmouthshire, Lancaster, Wendover Arm, Wey & Arun and Basingstoke canals and the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. WRG regional groups organised additional weekend digs throughout England and Wales.

IWA & WRG volunteers contributed over 10,000 days in 2013, by being involved with national and local committees, taking part in work parties, clean ups and Canal Camps, assisting at Head Office, organising the various IWA festivals and boat rallies, promoting IWA at other festivals, organising socials and fundraising events, putting together printed material and updating IWA's website.

Every month we have a new interview with a different IWA volunteer to showcase their contributions to the waterways. Take a look at our volunteers of the month.

Recruitment: To help support the growing work of its volunteers, IWA recruited two additional members of staff; a Fundraising Officer (Toby Gomm), and a Design and Web Content Assistant (Stephanie Pay).

The size and commitment of IWA's membership is what enables us to continue campaigning successfully for the best outcome for Britain's waterways. To this end, IWA also recruited a part-time Membership Recruitment Assistant (Katie Thomas).

Events: This year, IWA organised three major waterway festivals to further promote the benefits of the waterways and the campaigning work carried out by the Association. IWA's Canalway Cavalcade took place in London in May, IWA's Trailboat Festival took place at Bodiam Castle in East Sussex in May, and IWA's National Festival took place in Watford in July.

Waterways for kids: IWA's Wild Over Waterways (WOW) continued to organise, take part in, and fund events aimed at encouraging the next generation of supporters, all over the country. Find out more about WOW.

Advice: As well as the funding, campaigning, education and restoration work carried out by IWA, engineering advice was given to waterway trusts and societies via IWA's Honorary Consultant Engineers.  Specialists provide a range of advice on other issues from planning to insurance.

IWA would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members, volunteers and staff that have made it possible for IWA to continue its work, campaigning for the best for IWA's waterways and its users. Thank you.

We hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!