A scheme by the Canal & Rivers Trust (CRT) to encourage local communities to play a bigger part in looking after the waterways on their doorstep by adopting a stretch of canal is being supported by outdoor champion Julia Bradbury, who says:
“Two hundred years ago, canals helped to transform the face of Britain. The legacy we have today is amongst the finest examples of industrial heritage in the world, yet the biggest threat our waterways face today is apathy. When I’m out exploring the waterways, I’ve seen what a difference it makes when local communities come together and make their stretch come to life. I’d encourage anyone with a community spirit and a bit of time to spare to see how they can get involved.”
The CRT’s aim is for a quarter of our waterways network (500 miles) to be adopted by local people. The call comes as part of our wider plans to ensure that the nation’s waterways continue to thrive and don’t fall back into the dereliction of the mid-twentieth century, when they were almost lost forever.
There are 170 waterway adoptions already working across the country, including Scouts, neighbourhood societies, running groups and schools. Adoption groups work in partnership with the CRT in order to make their mile of waterway shine; anything from improving wildlife habitats and access for local people, to creating a linear veg-patch for the community. Each group works at least one day a month for twelve months, and agrees the projects they want to prioritise to make their mile matter.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the CRT, says: “Adopting a stretch of canal or river is all about making a real difference, changing lives and having fun too. By working together with local groups, we’re bringing our nation’s canals and rivers to life in more ways than ever before.”