First Annual Restoration Workshop a Great Success

First Annual Restoration Workshop a Great Success

20 May 2014

The first annual workshop aimed at helping restoration groups across the country has been declared a great success.

Over 60 representatives of restoration societies and canal trusts from across the country attended the workshop, hosted by the Canal & River Trust (CRT) and The Inland Waterways Association (IWA), to discuss some of the main issues facing the restoration movement.

The event, held at The Bond Warehouse, Digbeth on 10th May was a lively and informal opportunity to share best practice, celebrate recent successes and build new relationships. It also marked the launch of a report into the many benefits that restoration can bring to communities.

The report carried out by the University of Northampton re-examines the benefits arising from seven specific canal restoration schemes (including the Kennet & Avon Canal, Liverpool Link, Rochdale Canal, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Millennium Link and Chesterfield Canal) helping to demonstrate how similar schemes may benefit their local communities. Both CRT and IWA hope that the report, along with a new video, can help to inspire more people to get involved with canal restoration efforts.

The day also saw speakers from groups including the Cotswold Canal Trust, the Wiltshire, Swindon & Oxfordshire Canal Partnership (covering the Wilts & Berks Project) and the Herefordshire & Gloucester Canal Trust sharing some of their experiences. There were also sessions on the practical considerations facing restoration groups, such as securing funding and making the most of training opportunities.

Canal & River Trust chief executive Richard Parry, who welcomed attendees by video link as he was taking part in the Montgomery Canal Triathlon said; “The workshop was, by all accounts, a great success and I would like to thank everyone who went along and contributed their ideas, opinions and enthusiasm.

“I was taking part in the Montgomery Canal Triathlon which, itself, is a real demonstration of the way in which restoration efforts can bring life to previously decaying and forgotten canals.

“The challenge now is how we inspire more people to get involved and support the efforts of canal societies and restoration groups across the country. We’ll be launching a campaign in early summer to try and inspire people to do just that; to find out more about the history of their local canals, the work of their local restoration group and, importantly, how they can help.”

IWA national chairman Les Etheridge, said; “This was a very well attended workshop showing the amazing commitment that people have to restoring our waterways.  To ensure the long term success of future restorations, it is essential that future running costs are built into the restoration plan.  Presentations on how this is being achieved by both the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust and from a different perspective the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway were very thought provoking and informative.

"As it has for many years IWA remains committed to the sustainable restoration of our inland waterways.”

Resources on waterway restoration can be accessed via the restoration pages.

Take a look at a summary of the benefits of waterways restoration (3.7MB PDF)
Read the full Review of the Impact of Waterways Restoration Report (1.5MB PDF)

Read opening speech by IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge
Read concluding remarks by Canal & River Trust Trustee, John Dodwell

Other documents include:
Cotswold Canals - Ecotec Report
Health Benefits of Scotlands Canals Report
Huddersfield & Rochdale canals - Ecotec Reports
Kennet & Avon Canal - Ecotec Report

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