Canal News, Richard Parry’s End of Year message

Canal & Rivers Trust logoRichard Parry’s End of Year message

End of Year message

Firstly let me thank you for boating with us this year. I know how much boats and boaters contribute to the canals and rivers in our care.
It’s been my first full year with the Trust, so the year end feels like a personal milestone. More importantly I believe it’s been another year of progress and development for the Trust.
We’ve seen the numbers of volunteers, community adoptions and Friends continue to grow through the year. We’ve generated more income, and as result have spent more money on the waterway – forecast to be £90m this financial year. We’re also able to focus more of the money on boaters’ priorities – increased dredging; £2m additional spend on off-side vegetation removal – and we allocated £1m of the extra revenue we generated to spend on some of your immediate service needs – fixing some of the service stations, lock landings, moorings and wash walls that you have asked us to prioritise.
What has been particularly satisfying is the range of new partnerships we’ve managed to develop, from across a wide range including the Esmee Fairburn Foundation, the People’s Postcode Lottery, Sport England, the Welsh Government, and we’ve been successful with no fewer than five Heritage Lottery Fund bids as well as grants from numerous local authorities. We’re very grateful to all those who support our waterways. And the good news for all boaters is that we’ve followed up our commitment to again hold licence fee increases to inflation.
I’ve especially enjoyed meeting so many of you at the many canal festivals and events and at our Open Days where thousands of people have come to see inside the remarkable history in our care. Participating in the Montgomery Canal Triathlon – to see the whole route of the canal from end to end – and in the BCN ‘24 hour challenge’ were two personal high-points.
Many of you have shared your boating highlights and I have been lucky to be invited out for several trips this year – in particular, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of spending a day with the Narrowboat Trust hauling a loaded butty up the Oxford Canal, and another boating down the Ribble Link and into Preston docks, five boats abreast like an armada. The range of experiences on our waterways is so diverse and I hope you’ve enjoyed your boating wherever it was.
We’re doing our best to lift as many stoppages as possible so you can enjoy our canals and river navigations over Christmas. Let me wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.
Richard

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