IWA Bulletin - November 2019

Quicklinks: IWA Member Discounts | Easyfundraising this Christmas

IWA has a new National Chairman

Paul Rodgers AGM

Paul Rodgers has been elected as new National Chairman of IWA with immediate effect. He succeeds outgoing National Chairman, Ivor Caplan who, after two years at the helm, has decided to focus on areas of particular interest including heritage, navigation and planning.  

Paul brings a wealth of business and volunteering expertise to the role and is looking to capitalise on IWA’s unique position in terms of its independence, heritage, perspective and diversity of interests to help shape and facilitate the future regeneration of the waterways.  

Paul says, “I am honoured to have been elected by my fellow trustees to help lead the next stage in the development of our Association with the support of our staff team, volunteers and members. My aim as National Chairman is to continue to build on IWA’s reputation, developing well-thought-out, strategic and active campaigns, which will result in the regeneration of the waterways to benefit all users, influencers and stakeholders for the remainder of the 21st century – and beyond.”

Rick Barnes, Dave Chapman and Chris Howes will serve as as Deputy Chairmen.

To read the full press release about IWA's new National Chairman.

Scottish Canals’ Operations Consultation 

All boaters who use the Lowland Canals in Scotland are encouraged to respond to Scottish Canals’ consultation about user operation on the Forth & Clyde and Union canals.   

The Lowland Canal Operations Consultation is open until week commencing 20th January 2020 and asks boaters to let them have their views on the following areas:   

  • Meeting customer demand and how Scottish Canals operate the canals – including the potential of extending user and remote operations at key locations, designing operating hours around customer demand and ensuring that boaters get training where necessary
  • How Scottish Canals allocates its resources to tackle major issues such as dredging and weed control
  • How boaters can send in feedback on obstacles or issues
  • Improving communication, customer experience and transparency, including being able to book and pay online for transits, licences and other services  

IWA supports the proposals by Scottish Canals to allow user operation of some of their locks and bridges. The Lowland Canals would benefit from less restrictions to opening hours, along with as many structures being made available for user operation as possible, as these would facilitate increased use of these restored canals which in turn would bring all the economic and social benefits that vibrant busy waterways bring to local communities.

An earlier version of the consultation would have seen the western end of the Forth & Clyde Canal effectively closed for most of the time, with availability being limited to a single day a week in each direction. Representations made by the new advisory group – Scottish Waterways for All – supported by IWA, have resulted in a reversal of this decision and the Forth & Clyde Canal is now shown as open throughout, seven days a week, for booked transits.

The stretch was restored in 2002 as a transit canal (linking the Firth of Forth with the Clyde). Limiting any section of its length makes a nonsense of its restoration and of the £9.4m recently spent constructing the 1km Queen Elizabeth II Canal, bypassing a difficult section of the River Carron on its eastern approach to the Kelpies.

The consultation can be found on Scottish Canals’ website

Photography Competition Public Vote Winner

The public votes are in and have been counted and there was a clear winner of our IWA Photography Competition public vote this year. The winner is: Nick Thornhill for his image of the River Crouch at Hullbridge, Essex. The image has been taken using a lensball which shows a perfect reflection of the setting sun over the river. This stunning image was the winner of our “Wonder in the Every Day” category in the main competition. Well done to Nick and all of the other photographers who entered this year’s competition.  

Photo: River Crouch at Hullbridge, Essex by Nick Thornhill

Our 2020 competition is now open for entries. There are four categories for next year. These are:

  • Heritage & Restoration - from old waterways signage and rope grooves caused by horse drawn boats to the 500 miles of waterways that could be usefully restored.
  • Waterscape - enchanting views of navigable waterways.
  • Built environment - from beautiful old warehouses to wonderful new developments, creative, refreshing spaces to be.  Let’s get the picture of our urban, waterside environment.
  • Active Waterways - all that contributes to the vibrancy of our inland waterways - from the family enjoying a boat trip, a couple walking the towpath hand in hand, the boater mooring up for the evening, to the wildlife that lives there.

To find out more and enter our Photography Competition.

It’s a Wrap on this year’s Family Camps

During 2019, IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group ran three Family Camps: one on the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal, which ran over the October half term, one on the Grantham Canal which ran in August and one on the Uttoxeter Canal in June. This is the first year that three Family Camps have run in one year, with the extra camp being added due to popular demand.

Wendover Family Camp 2019
Unlike most Canal Camps, which run for seven days, the Family Camps run from Friday to Sunday. The activities involved over the weekends are chosen to help make practical improvements to a canal and to help enhance the waterways for wildlife, plus families learn first-hand about restoring the UK’s derelict waterways.

At the Wendover Arm Family Camp, the families made clay ‘toppers’ for bamboo poles which were used to mark areas where snowdrop bulbs were planted on the banks of the canal restoration. They cut back vegetation and helped plant 1,000 snowdrop bulbs across the course of the weekend. All families rose to the challenge of making bird boxes which were then put up in the trees.

Find out more about IWA’s Family Camps.

Family Camp Leaders Needed for Family Camps in 2020

Dates for next year’s IWA Family Camps are currently being decided and will be released in December. However, due to a lack of Family Camp leaders, it looks like IWA will only have resources available for two camps. If you know anyone who might be interested in running a Family Camp, please let us know as we would love to be able to offer three Family Camps again next year. For more information, please email alex.melson@waterways.org.uk

Bonfire Bash on the Uttoxeter Canal

At the start of November, IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group held its annual Bonfire Bash Weekend on the Uttoxeter Canal in Staffordshire. 60 volunteers from across the country carried out major vegetation clearance along the line of the old, but now very overgrown, Canal and towpath at Alton, bordering the edge of the famous theme park, Alton Towers.   

The work carried out will help the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust establish a walking route along the length of the Uttoxeter Canal. 

Give Back and Have Fun on our Christmas Canal Camp 

If you enjoy spending time outside and are looking to do something different this festive season, why not book your place on our Christmas Canal Camp on the picturesque Cotswold Canals?  

The working holiday runs from 26th December 2019 to 1st January 2020 and costs just £70 per person. The cost includes three meals a day – a cooked breakfast, lunch on site and a substantial home cooked evening meal, plus an endless supply of tea and cake. Accommodation is in an empty office building, which once housed Damian Hirst’s artist studio.  

No experience is needed and all personal protection equipment is provided. For more information, or to book a place on the IWA Christmas Canal Camp, please visit: www.waterways.org.uk/wrg.

Branch News

IWA Milton Keynes Branch Autumn Cleanup

IWA Milton Keynes Branch held its Autumn clean up along the Grand Union Canal in October. Working from Fenny Stratford, volunteers cleared a ten mile stretch of rubbish and plastics over two days. Interesting finds included a speed camera, massive speakers, and an even bigger tyre, boat petrol tank, small motorbike, cycles, a pogo stick, and of course a shopping trolley. The clean up included volunteers from Canal & River Trust, the Parks Trust, Buckingham Canal Society, Milton Keynes Canoe Club, and the general public.

IWA Northampton Branch Award

Eight year old Lottie Clarke who lives near Lock 14 on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal, has won an IWA volunteer award to recognise her contribution in helping to clean up the canal, turning up in all weathers and completing more than 50 hours working with a volunteer team from the IWA Northampton Branch.  

Lottie received the John Faulkner Award, created by the Branch to recognise someone who has made an important contribution to its work, at its Annual Dinner last weekend. The award was named after a long-standing Branch member who left a substantial legacy in 2016. She is the third recipient of the Award.  

It is great to see the younger generation getting involved in supporting our waterways.  

IWA Northampton Branch Celebrates 11,000 volunteer hours in 2019

Volunteers from IWA Northampton Branch are regularly out and about on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal tidying up, removing rubbish, clearing vegetation, planting bulbs, maintaining planters at the locks, filling in potholes and so much more. Over the course of 2019, the Branch has recorded a staggering 11,000 volunteer hours – that’s the equivalent of 1500 working days or nearly 7 people working full-time. It is the commitment and dedication of these volunteers that helps to make the Northampton Arm such a success story.  

IWA Warwickshire Branch - Autumn Grapple in Leamington Spa

Despite torrential rain overnight and lower than average seasonal temperatures, IWA Warwickshire Branch held its Autumn Grapple and canal cleanup on 13th October. The Branch was joined by Canal & River Trust’s local towpath taskforce, local adopters as well as other residents and Warwick University students.   

Grapple throwing techniques were explained by CRT’s volunteer leader, Steve Lambert and everyone quickly got “into the swing” of things. Plenty of rubbish was pulled out of the canal including around twenty bikes, numerous supermarket trolleys and a battered golf buggy (which had to be pulled out by CRT’s crane lorry). The size of the haul was less this year, which we hope means that there is less rubbish in the canal. Canal-side rubbish was also reduced to only a few bags thanks to the local adopters’ regular patrols.  

IWA Lichfield Branch donates to Lichfield Canal Volunteers

IWA Lichfield Branch has donated £500 to Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and specified that the money should go towards the ‘marvellous work party volunteers’ for materials or machinery expenses. John Bryan, commercial director for LHCRT, received a cheque from Pete Gurney, IWA Lichfield branch treasurer at its November meeting.

The latest donation brings to the Branch’s support to £1,600 during 2019 for this transformational local restoration project.

IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch Nominates Volunteer Group for Award

IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch nominated a volunteer group in their branch area, Friends of Kennet (part of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society) for the National Historic Ships Marsh Volunteer Awards, for their hard work and commitment in restoring and operating Leeds & Liverpool short boat Kennet.    

Photo: (l-r) Alison Smedley representing IWA, Colin Thunhurst of Friends of Kennet and vice chair of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society, receiving the award from Brian Marsh of the Marsh Christian Trust.  

Kennet is the only surviving Leeds & Liverpool Canal short boat which is in community ownership and is accessible to the public.  The branch was thrilled when Friends of Kennet won the 'Engaging the Public' category of the awards, presented at a reception held at Queens House in Greenwich on Tuesday 26th November.   

The award, which is supported by the Marsh Christian Trust, is made to an individual volunteer or a group of volunteers who have made a significant contribution to a historic vessel through engaging the public and comes with a £500 prize which Friends of Kennet will put towards the running cost of the boat. 

Buy Christmas Cards & Calendars

Christmas is almost upon us. If you haven’t done so already, why not take a look at the great selection of Christmas cards on offer from IWA? There are a wide range of waterways scenes to choose from, with something for everyone, including three new designs for this year.  

Cards cost £3.60 per pack of ten cards for the new designs and £3.25 for packs from previous years. There are also some bargain packs that offer great value for money. See the full range of Christmas Cards.  

Black Friday Deal on 2020 Calendars

To celebrate Black Friday, IWA is offering 3 for 2 on all IWA 2020 calendars. If you are looking for gifts for those hard to buy for friends and family members then this could be your answer.  

There is an A4 landscape calendar (£7.99) or a portrait calendar with detachable postcards (£5.50) to choose from.

Easyfundraising this Christmas

Buy online and raise money for IWA at no cost to you this Christmas. It is so easy to do your shopping with thousands of partner sites 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 £1500 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.


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)
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.

The Bounty Pub - 10% discount on food
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
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channelglaze Ltd. - 10% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - 20% discount on ICETrekkers Diamond Grip
Kings Lock Chandlery - 5% discount (exclusions apply)
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