Issue date: 2nd October 2017
The Chester & Merseyside Branch of national charity, The Inland Waterways Association, was amongst the winners at Canal & River Trust’s Living Waterways Awards ceremony in Birmingham on Wednesday 27th September. The Branch won in the category “Community and Volunteering” for their organisation of the very successful 2016 Eldonian Village Canal Festival. The Inland Waterways Association is a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country’s 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.
The Living Waterways Awards spokesperson said “We were impressed with the array of examples of local people getting involved in preparation for the festival, as well as the event itself, which brought 20,000 people to the canalside – an astonishing figure for a canal celebration without precedent.”
A delighted George Evans, Chief Executive of the Eldonian Housing Association received the award along with the Chairman of the Chester & Merseyside Branch of The Inland Waterways Association, Jim Forkin.
The festival was held in June 2016 as part of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations. It aimed to increase the number of boats travelling this last stretch of the Liverpool Link into the docks, and raise awareness of the canal locally.
In addition to the overall organisation by IWA’s Chester & Merseyside Branch, the festival was a community event supported by the Eldonian Housing Association, Liverpool Culture and Canal & River Trust.
Ahead of the event, as well as undertaking comprehensive tidy-up works, IWA volunteers worked with local schools, teaching them about the history of canals and hosting angling taster sessions with the local angling club.
Over 80 boats moored along the canal during the festival weekend, local politicians were taken on a cruise to see the positive impact that improving the canal environment could have for their community, and over 20,000 people attended the festival.
Following the success of the event another low key festival was organised in July 2017, with support from local boat clubs, IWA and Eldonian Housing Association, and it is hoped that it will be an annual fixture in the Liverpool entertainments calendar.
The Inland Waterways Association
IWA is The Inland Waterways Association, a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country’s 6,500 miles of canals and rivers. IWA is a national organisation with a network of volunteers and branches who deploy their expertise and knowledge to work constructively with navigation authorities, government and other organisations. The Association also provides practical and technical support to restoration projects through its expert Waterway Recovery Group.
IWA – Keeping our waterways alive.