Waterway Restoration Conference 2020

Building resilience and creating connections

Date: Saturday 10th October 2020 (10am-4.15pm) 
Location: Ormiston South Wolverhampton and Bilston (SWB) Academy, Wolverhampton, WV14 0LN. 
Cost: Free (refreshments & lunch included).

The 2020 Annual Restoration Conference, jointly organised by The Inland Waterways Association and Canal & River Trust, is taking place on the new date of Saturday 10th October 2020 at South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy. This years theme is "Building resilience and creating connections".

The conference will bring a focus to governance, volunteer recruitment, including the recruitment and management of a more diverse volunteer base and a series of technical and informative workshops.  Workshop technical topics include the environmental changes to be introduced by legislation around biodiversity net gain and dealing with utilities on site.  We have tried to attract as many speakers from beyond IWA and CRT and attendees should experience a fantastic insight to the important topics facing restorations today.  Plus there will be plenty of time for networking. 

See the full agenda below.

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Main Session 1:
Good Governance - getting it right (from the start). Sarah O'Grady, NCVO. 
What can restoration group trustees do to implement good governance?  What are the key issues facing boards and what are the specific issues facing leaders in our sector?

Main Session 2:
Unlock the power of heritage volunteeringBecky Benson, Birmingham Museum Trust, Member of the Heritage Volunteering Group.
Following a recent survey, data and insight concerning the heritage volunteering sector will be shared with case studies being used to demonstrate resilience building in volunteer led teams.  Becky will offer lots of useful tips to take away.

Main Session 3:
Attracting and Connecting with diverse audiences.  Kamiqua Pearce, National Citizen Service
Kam will highlight the roles that a diverse and inclusive culture, attitude and mindset can play in building, sustaining and future proofing organisations.  Through examples she will speak of the challenges with diversity and inclusion and ways to overcome them.

Main Session 4:
Q&A with our panel of experts.
Now's the time to ask our experts any questions about governance, volunteering, recruitment and diversity or any other issues brought to light during the day. 


Our 45 minute breakout sessions will give you the opportunity to find out more about a specific topic and discuss it with a smaller group.  This year you will have the opportunity to attend 3 breakout seminars to be chosen from the list below.

Option 1:
Funding your Project with a NHLF grant. Liz Shaw, NLHF
The National Lottery Heritage Fund is one of the main grant funders for waterways restoration projects. This workshop, led by Liz Shaw, a member of the Heritage Fund regional engagement team, will provide a brief overview of the grant programmes that are currently available and hopes to equip you with some of the information you might need to consider when making your application, including a chance to find out and discuss the common application pitfalls.

Option 2:
What’s Your Exit Strategy – From Restoration to Operation  Peter Walker, Canal & River Trust
So – your restoration is progressing well and you’re now thinking of connecting it up to the national waterway network and moving from restoration mode to operation mode. You may be considering some form of working relationship with Canal & River Trust.  In this workshop Peter will run through some key considerations when deciding on your preferred option, including how to formally connect to the Trust’s network, the Trust’s view on acquiring restored waterways, technical and operational requirements including boat licensing and enforcement, plus things to consider should you wish to own and manage your restored waterway.

Option 3:
Engaging your local council and MP & getting them on board with your project *FULL. Alison Smedley, Campaigns & Public Affairs Manager, IWA 
Campaigning and building relationships with your local MP and authorities can be a long term but highly rewarding activity. What should you concentrate your time on and how can you deliver the most successful outcomes?

Option 4:
Creating Connections with your wider community – A focus on young people. James Long, Community & Youth Events Coordinator & Carrie House, Project Officer, Canal & River Trust
Successfully engaging young people can be a challenge: but doing it well can make a significant impact for your project, the young people themselves, and the wider community.  In this session we will be sharing learning from a range of projects Canal & River Trust have led and supported.  We will share case studies, best practice and discuss ideas that groups can takeaway and use in their project.

Option 5:
Biodiversity Net Gain *FULL Speaker: Alex Melson, IWA
New regulations mean that all developments going through the English planning system will need to achieve Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), otherwise planning permission will be refused.  BNG is an approach to development that leaves the natural environment in a measurably better state with the outcome being a net gain in biodiversity.  This workshop explores the principles of BNG, a mitigation hierarchy and brings the topic to life with some relevant construction based case studies.

Option 6:
Dealing with Utilities on your restoration project (Dangers and Avoidance of Underground Services) Wayne Cahill, SHE Lead Regional Civil Engineer, Kier 
Ascertaining the location of utilities on your project through service searches and CAT scans (including the limitations of this approach), the protection of your volunteers and utilities plus the time and cost implications of diverting them will all be covered.  If there is time the session will address the support of underground services when working close to them.

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In partnership with: 

Find out more about IWA's Restoration Hub and how it can support your project.