PRESS RELEASE: IWA Funding Enables CRT to Focus on Restoration

Issue date: 9th May 2014

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) welcomes Canal & River Trust's (CRT) renewed commitment to the restoration of Britain's inland waterways, and has provided funding to enable them to do it.

IWA has organised a workshop for restoration groups, jointly with CRT, which will take place on Saturday 10th May.

IWA intends that the workshop should provide local waterway groups with more support to assist in the development of their restoration projects. Delegates will hear from external experts who will present their research in to the economic and social benefits of waterway restoration, take part in discussion groups, and see the launch of a new video that demonstrates the wider benefits of restoration.

IWA and CRT have recently formed a Restoration Partnership to raise awareness of, and encourage broad support for waterway restoration. As part of this, IWA's Restoration Committee provided a grant of £5,000 towards the cost of two new CRT staff members, recruited to focus on restoration.

These initiatives build on IWA's long history of waterway restoration campaigns, that has seen hundreds of miles of waterways saved and restored to use, since the Association was founded in 1946:

  • 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the reopening of the Southern Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, made possible through IWA campaigning and work parties in the fifties and sixties. This was an important landmark as it publicly demonstrated the feasability of bringing waterways back to life at a lesser cost than eliminating them.

  • 2014 is the 40th Anniversary of a whole host of restoration projects that greatly benefitted from IWA support, including the Upper Avon NavigationPeak Forest, Ashton and Caldon canals.

  • Droitwich Barge Lock, which connects the Droitwich Junction Canal and Droitwich Barge Canal in Vines Park, was officially re-opened in 2008. Much of the work to restore the lock was undertaken by IWA's Waterway Recovery Group, and was the culmination of over 30 years' work by IWA to promote restoration of the Droitwich Canals. 

  • IWA's support has been fundamental in nearly every successful waterway restoration project in the past 50 years.

  • IWA provides expertise and advice to restoration groups throughout the country as well as financial assistance through grants. The Association draws on the knowledge and expertise of its membership and associates to provide this support to all restoration organisations that can benefit from it. IWA also supports many restoration groups through the insurances that it arranges.

  • IWA's Waterway Recovery Group provides practical help and expertise for restoration in the form of week-long working holidays known as Canal Camps and weekend work parties. WRG also provides grants, with IWA funding, to restoration groups for training volunteers.

IWA's National Chairman, Les Etheridge said "We're really pleased to see that Canal & River Trust is getting behind the campaign to support restoration of the UK's canals and rivers. We hope that their commitment to the promotion of restoration will continue to raise awareness, support, and investment in local projects, for the benefit of the wider waterways community."

Les Etheridge added "Today, people using the Kennet & Avon, Ripon, Caldon, Peak Forest, Droitwich and Bridgwater & Taunton canals, and many others, plus river navigations such as the Upper Great Ouse, so easily forget that these were once derelict waterways reliant on IWA and other voluntary support. We need to encourage today's restorers, who face even greater challenges, to achieve simliar great feats. The active support of CRT is a vital step in this process, which is why we welcome this opportunity to work together."

Resources for waterway restoration groups can be found on IWA's website.


Notes for Editors

Image: Droitwich Barge Lock which was reopened in 2008 after restoration work carried out by IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (photo by Chris Handscombe) Download image from Flickr.

About The Inland Waterways Association

About Waterway Recovery Group

About CRT: The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales.  They are among the largest charities in the UK, maintaining the nation’s third largest collection of Listed structures, as well as museums, archives, navigations and hundreds of important wildlife sites.

About Southern Stratford-upon-Avon Canal: In the post war years the Southern Stratford-upon-Avon Canal was neglected and became a candidate for abandonment. IWA started a restoration campaign led and directed by David Hutchings. Dedicated volunteers, prisoners from Hewel Grange, Army and Air Force work groups descended to clear and restore the waterway. By 1964 the canal was navigable and reopened by HM The Queen Mother. David made his political point that canal restoration was feasible and wanted by an increasing fleet of boat users.

IWA campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways.
About IWA
Volunteers restoring the waterways. The Waterway Recovery Group is part of IWA.
About WRG

Image: Droitwich Barge Lock which was reopened in 2008 after restoration work carried out by IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (photo by Chris Handscombe)

Download image from Flickr