Teenager at Alvechurch

Canals for all ages: Waterways charity launches youth fellowship programme

National waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust is encouraging young people to join a new programme where they will help shape the charity’s future direction and broaden the waterways’ appeal to all ages.

Canal and rivers trust Grand Union Canal

The Trust, which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways across England & Wales, has traditionally had an older supporter base. The new Youth Fellowship Programme will help gain the fresh perspectives that younger people can bring and, by broadening the appeal of the waterways, will create a pathway for a new generation of waterway supporters and enthusiasts.

The voluntary 12-month programme will support more young people, aged 18 to 25, to join the Trust’s regional and national advisory boards to have a say in the charity’s decision-making processes.

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Fellows will design and manage a three to six-month project that will bring new thinking to an area the Trust wants to strengthen, with a national project looking at how the Trust can grow engagement amongst young people, who are currently underrepresented amongst the Trust’s volunteers, workforce, and visitors to the waterways. They will play an important role in defining the Trust’s offer for young people from all walks of life.

Richard Parry, chief executive at the Canal & River Trust, comments: “Representation and equity are at the heart of the new Youth Fellowship Programme. Close to nine million of us live within 1km of a canal or river and there’s a real opportunity to engage more young people who currently aren’t benefiting from spending time in these amazing green and blue spaces.

“Fellows will take the lead in looking at how we can make the waterways relevant and attractive to a new generation, embracing diversity and anchoring the canals’ importance in the communities they run through. In turn, we will support them to become true role models for other young people in their communities, as well as the wider charity and environmental sector.”

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Fellows will receive training around project planning and management, practical delivery of activities, impact measurement, public speaking, leading teams, event management and more. They will have the opportunity to represent the Trust at high profile events and conferences where they can share their experiences and at the same time help to raise the awareness of the Trust’s work with new audiences.

Recruitment for the Youth Fellowship Programme is taking place between 16 August and 6 September with Fellows starting from mid-September.

For more detailed information on what the Fellowships offer, see here.

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