“Restoration schemes are not just a means to an end; they have a life of their own and can bring quantifiable benefits at every stage”
CELEBRATING the small milestones of a much larger restoration project is the message behind a new report launched by the Restoration Hub at The Inland Waterways Association (IWA).
This Waterways in Progress report is the brainchild of Waterway Recovery Group Chairman, Mike Palmer and comprises 12 strong case studies, which show the benefits that restorations can bring to the local community throughout the life of a project, even when it is many years from completion.
The aim of the Waterways in Progress report is to give restoration groups the tools and information they need to confidently approach their local authority and other funders in order to get their proposed project off the ground. It is supported by a video which is fronted by IWA Vice President, David Suchet.
Set out in four broad categories, the case studies cover many of the different benefits that come from having an active restoration in your area. These headings are Channelling Regeneration, where the case studies chosen look at the impact a restoration can have on the local economy; Promoting Personal Development & Wellbeing, celebrating the new skills and job opportunities offered by a restoration as well as the health benefits of using a restored towpath; Creating Community Spaces shows how a canal restoration can bring a local community together and build a sense of local pride; Enhancing Heritage & Habitats looks at the environmental benefits of a restoration project.
As Mike Palmer says, “Previously, we have looked at the benefits gained once a waterway is fully restored, but the advantages arrive much sooner than that and can be seen almost from day one. One mile of restored towpath can encourage people to get out and about; a new canalside café can become a meeting place for local people and an as-yet unconnected stretch of water can become a bustling new business and residential development with a significant boost to the local economy.
“Waterways in Progress is a living document. We want restoration groups to tell us their stories so we can add to the number of case studies we have available. The more evidence that we have that proves the overwhelming benefits of a canal restoration, the better. These case studies can then be used to support new projects and persuade funders that these are the schemes to back.”
For more information, to watch the video or to read the report in full, please visit: www.waterways.org.uk/waterwaysinprogress.