IWA Bulletin

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It’s that time of year, when Himalayan balsam starts appearing along our canal and river banks. IWA is asking you to join a Balsam Bash at your local IWA branch or sign up for one of our Himalayan balsam Pull Snap Stomp information packs online. The packs include an information leaflet and a pair of pink work gloves.

Himalayan balsam is a non-native, invasive plant species which grows so quickly that it crowds out native wildflowers. Growing up to three metres in height, it makes an impressive sight with its reddish stems and pink-purple flowers, but the plant has no root stock, so once it dies back, the ground is susceptible to erosion, especially during the wet winter months.  This results in more silt in the canals and rivers requiring more dredging - so clearing Himalayan balsam benefits boating, as well as native plants and animals.

Himalayan balsam stems are easy to pull out and leave the ground with a very pleasing ‘pop’ which makes it a fun family activity. We are seeking volunteers both young and old to help remove the plants from towpaths before it has a chance to go to seed. Volunteers are being asked to take just five minutes out of their walk to PULL up the stems, SNAP off the root and STOMP down on it to speed up the rotting process.

For more information, please visit our Himalayan Balsam web pages.


IWA has 13 trustees currently, who act as the charity’s board of directors.  They have ultimate responsibility for all aspects of IWA activity, but delegate routine day-to-day management of the Association to a small staff team and to various national and local committees.  If you feel you have the right skills and experience to bring value to IWA’s trustee board, IWA’s chief executive, Neil Edwards, would love to hear from you.  The deadline for nominations is Friday 5th July and all nominations should be accompanied by a brief biography or statement (maximum 400 words) and a portrait photo. See link below for further details.
Trustees serve for periods of three years, and are eligible for re-election three times.  Our trustees meet five times per year (usually on a Saturday), in addition to attending our AGM.  Meetings can be attended remotely via the internet.
IWA’s Articles of Association provide for a maximum of 17 trustees (or 18 in the event of a co-opted National Treasurer), but the method of appointment is left up to the trustees to decide.  At the moment IWA’s trustees have chosen to keep four trustee places vacant as part of their plan to ultimately reduce the number of trustee places to ten.  A board made up of ten trustees is comparable to other similar sized charities and should allow for the most effective discussion and decision making.
At this year’s AGM three of our trustees (Rick Barnes, Ivor Caplan and Peter Scott) are due to retire, but they are all eligible to stand again.  There will be a ballot if there are more candidates than the three places available.  If this is the case, information about the candidates and voting papers will be published in the next edition of Waterways magazine and on the website.  More details can be found in our guidance note for potential new trustees.


1st – 3rd June, 2019, Westmorland Showground, Crooklands.
This year, our IWA Trailboat Festival is being held on the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal. Organised by IWA Lancs & Cumbria Branch, the festival not only celebrates the bicentenary of the opening of the Lancaster Canal but also aims to publicise efforts to restore the Northern Reaches of the Canal.
The festival is situated on the canal next to the Westmorland Showground at Crooklands. It is being run in association with Country Fest on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June. Monday 3rd June is for boaters and boating fans only. The Lancaster Canal Trust’s freshly painted trip boat will be operating tours up and down the canal during the weekend.  
A full programme of events celebrating 200 years of the Lancaster Canal has been planned for the Trailboat festival alongside the music, food, demonstrations and entertainment of Country Fest.  There will be an award ceremony at the festival, as well as an illuminated boat parade. The festival aims to raise the profile of the current and future regeneration plans of the Northern Reaches and promote the benefits of this inland waterway corridor to the wider local community.

We would love to see you there. Find out more about IWA Trailboat Festival.


At a reception at The Houses of Parliament, Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire was named IWA Parliamentarian of the Year. He was nominated by Ashby Canal Trust and Ashby Canal Association for his support and assistance, especially with regards to many difficult issues with HS2 in the region. He was also thanked for his efforts in helping to overcome progress problems with Leicestershire County Council and his continuing work on issues with Defra and the Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO). His support has brought in a number of donations including significant sums from both North West Leicestershire District Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  As one of his nominators said, “Time will tell if we manage to complete the full restoration of the Ashby Canal, but one thing is for sure, if we don’t make it, it won’t be because of a lack of effort or support from Andrew Bridgen MP. He is a worthy winner of the IWA Parliamentarian of the Year award.”

Andrew Bridgen MP POTY 2019

This is the tenth year that the IWA Parliamentarian of the Year award has been given to a Member of Parliament who has shown unwavering support for the waterways. The event was hosted by IWA and was attended by over 140 guests including 45 MPs and five members of the House 0f Lords. This is the largest attendance to date and shows the growth in support for the UK’s waterways.


IWA has launched its new Waterways in Progress Grant. The grant offers organisations up to £100,000 to assist in funding a project or projects which promote the Waterways in Progress vision and values. The grant is funded through legacies that have been left to the Association.

The key requirement for any organisations applying for the grant is that the project can start to deliver right from day one. This is an objective that is right at the heart of the Waterways in Progress report, with suggestions including the creation of a waterside community hub; enhancing and celebrating the built and natural heritage of an area or helping give unemployed youngsters the skills and training needed to get jobs.

The successful projects need to deliver on one of more of the key themes of the Waterways in Progress report. Channelling Regeneration looks at the economic benefits that can be felt by the local area; Promoting Personal Development & Wellbeing encourages people to get out and about for both physical and mental health benefits as well as volunteering and learning new skills; Creating Community Spaces looks at building social cohesion and instilling civic pride and finally, Enhancing Heritage & Habitats focusing on the environmental benefits of a project and the preservation of history and tradition for the benefit of future generations.

The grant will not necessarily fund more navigable miles, it is focused on the wider benefits that a waterways restoration project can bring to an area. The aim is for the successful project to create partnerships, engage communities and inspire stakeholders in order to keep the project moving forwards to its end goal.

Applications are now open. The deadline for ‘Expression of Interest’ submissions is Friday 16 August, 2019. There will then be a panel review at the end of August/early September. Shortlisted applications will be asked to produce a Development Phase Plan in October with the grant being awarded in December.

For more information or to fill out the online application form, please visit the Waterways in Progress grant web pages.


The River Waveney Trust hosted an IWA Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camp at Geldeston Lock over the third week in May. Canal Camp volunteers joined forces with a team from the River Waveney Trust to continue work that started in 2017 to replace crumbling brickwork at this historic lock.

Geldeston Lock 3

While working on restoring the lock, the volunteers uncovered some bits of treasure. First, they found a carved stone in the chamber wall. This stone recorded the last restoration which was carried out 109 years ago in 1910. They then found a gold wedding ring. The hallmark suggests it was assayed in 1951 in London. The River Waveney Trust is now attempting to find the owner and discover the story of how it ended up in the lock.

If you are interested in taking part in a Canal Camp. There are many different camps taking place all across the country this summer. Find out more about IWA's Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camps.


This year’s IWA Festival of Water is being held at Lee Valley Park in Waltham Abbey, just on the outskirts of North East London. Held over the August Bank Holiday weekend (24th - 26th August), this free family-friendly event is packed full of activities, music and entertainment for boaters, campers and visitors alike.

Over 120 boats are expected to attend the event, all decked out in their festival bunting and creating a vibrant spectacle along the banks of the Lee Navigation. It’s not just boaters who will be making a weekend of it, campers are welcome to come and pitch their tents too. Spaces are limited and can be booked in advance for just £35 including evening entertainment (Friday to Monday).
Attractions on the water will include boat handling competitions on both the Saturday and Sunday and an illuminated boat procession on the Sunday evening. In the park, there are children’s fairground rides, craft stalls, food stands, live music, Morris dancers and free Learn to Drive a digger taster sessions run by IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group.

The majority of boaters attending the event will need to travel through London and IWA is in discussion with the Canal & River Trust to secure visitor moorings for boats on their way to the Festival of Water. A number of additional pre-bookable mooring sites have been added for IWA members.

Find out more about IWA Festival or Water. If you have a specific question, or would like to volunteer over the weekend, please call 01635 414567 or email: event.enquiries@waterways.org.uk.


The early May Bank Holiday weekend saw the 37th annual IWA Canalway Cavalcade taking place in Little Venice, London. Unsettled weather across the weekend didn’t dampen spirits with a record number of 150 boats lined up along the Grand Union and Regent’s canals, many moored by their sterns in Browning’s Pool.

Boats at Canalway CavalcadeAlongside the gleaming boats, with their bunting flying and brass work shining, there was a great selection of events and activities across the weekend including music, stalls, food, drink and children’s entertainment.

Next year’s event is planned for the 2nd, 3rd & 4th of May. Book your space in Browning’s Pool.


We are once again celebrating the annual Volunteers’ Week from the 1st – 7th June to honour and say thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who give their time and dedication to the work of IWA.

Throughout Volunteers’ Week, we would like to recognise all the hard work our volunteers give, by celebrating them on our virtual ‘Wall of Thanks’ – which will be live on the website next week.

If you know an IWA volunteer that you would like to nominate to appear on our ‘Wall of Thanks’ please email nicola.kiely@waterways.org.uk with their name and a reason why you want to give that person a special word of thanks on the wall. All names will be posted up on the virtual ‘Wall of Thanks’.


Over 6,000 volunteer hours have already been logged for this year by IWA West Country Branch volunteers, who work tirelessly to protect, maintain and restore many of the rivers and canals across the region. Waterways covered include the River Tone, Bridgwater & Taunton Canal and the Grand Western Canal. There are plans to hold 220 work parties by the end of 2019.

As well as taking part in work parties and events, volunteers also provide expertise, with many of the volunteers having in depth knowledge of specific areas of canal restoration. 

The Branch holds three work parties each week along the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. In May, volunteers removed reed cuttings from the Canal with the use of a work boat towards Bridgwater Docks.


Weymoor Bridge on the Thames & Severn Canal in Wiltshire has been brought back to life thanks to the hard work and determination of volunteers.

In April, 18 volunteers from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group took part in a Canal Camp along the Canal, to work on the bridge and make a public footpath safe.

A mix of experienced volunteers worked alongside first timers on the Camp. Training in the use of excavators, dumpers and compacting machinery was provided to many of the volunteers.

Two more WRG Canal Camps are planned for the summer to give the project a final push towards completion.  The bridge is due to be reopened later this year.

Weymoor Bridge, which once carried a track over the Thames and Severn Canal had almost been demolished. The bridge-arch was levelled and replaced by a causeway in the early 1950’s.

WRG volunteers have been working on the bridge alongside the Cotswold Canals Trust since the project began in 2014.


Many of the offers below can be claimed simply by using your IWA membership card.  For others, log in or phone the membership team on 01494 783453 for details.

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

Enjoy the Waterways Through Hire Boats and Leisure

ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
Blackwater Boats - 10% discount on boat trips
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount on holidays
Canal Boat Magazine - 5 issues for £5.00
City Centre Cruises - 10% discount for Sunday lunch cruises in Manchester
Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount on adult beginner 'Stand Up & Paddle' lessons
Jenny Wren- 10% discount off cruises
Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd- 10% discount on published prices

Eating Out

To take advantage of eating out offers you just need to produce a valid IWA membership card.

Kings Lock Tearooms- 10% discount on food
The Clifford Arms Pub - 10% discount on food
The Three Locks Pub - 10% discount on food

Better Value on Boats and Equipment

Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channelglaze Ltd. - 5% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - 20% discount on ICETrekkers Diamond Grip
Kings Lock Chandlery - 5% discount (exclusions apply)
Marine Mega Store Ltd
- 15% discount
Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
RoadPro - 5% discount
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard


Forge Studio - 10% discount
Harbour Clean - 10% discount
Lee Sanitation - 10% on orders over £100
Paper Wizard - 15% discount
River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on selected 1 day RYA SRC VHF Licence Course

For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.

Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription

Boat Insurance

We have been looking at ways to provide more benefits to the waterways and everyone who uses them, and have extended our insurance offer to help you find the best available cover for your boat, your home and your car.  Every policy purchased or renewed helps IWA, allowing us to further our charitable work for the waterways.

See more information about the IWA insurance schemes for boaters

Free Donations to IWA Every Time you Shop Online

It is so easy to do your shopping via easyfundraising.  Every time you do, a percentage will be donated to IWA and it will cost you absolutely nothing extra.

There are over 3,100 shops and sites for you to browse and buy through on the easyfundraising site.  Usually the thing that stops people raising money in this way for their favourite charity is that they simply forget.  Since we launched IWA onto easyfundraising we have raised over £1000 so it is a brilliant way to support IWA.  Find out more about easyfundraising.

How to remind yourself to raise money for IWA via easyfundraising:

By using the app, the reminder toolbar or shopping through the easyfundraising site, you can help IWA raise hundreds and hopefully thousands of pounds.


IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453