14 February 2024

Since its launch at the end of June 2023, Fund Britain’s Waterways (FBW) has created an impressive coalition of member organisations totalling well over one hundred, representing hundreds of thousands of users and supporters of inland waterways. A public petition has attracted close to 50,000 signatures. Three well-reported Campaign Cruises in Birmingham, Gloucester and past the Palace of Westminster on the Thames have substantially raised awareness of the challenges facing our canals and rivers and the need for action. IWA has played a leading role in all this.

Plans for 2024 include an important weekend of action over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (4 to 6 May 2024) to highlight the impact of insufficient funding for Britain’s 5,000 miles of inland waterways. The weekend of action is planned to take place across the country on waterways managed by different inland navigation authorities. It will coincide with IWA’s annual Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice in London, which this year will be themed on Fund Britain’s Waterways.

Boaters attending Cavalcade are invited to join a Campaign Cruise past the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 8 May, as the culmination of the weekend of action.

Parliamentarians will be encouraged to view the event and express their support for the continued maintenance of the waterways to enable them to keep on delivering economic, health, environmental and well-being benefits. We hope that activities taking place across the country over the weekend, including by IWA branches, will attract local and national media attention, building up to the Westminster Cruise on 8th May for which FBW will be aiming for national coverage. IWA is encouraging its branches and corporate and individual members to organise events during the weekend of action to spread the word that waterways need to be properly funded to stop them from falling into decline. Events can be as simple as a few boats gathered together at a “public” location where flyers can be handed out and people be encouraged to sign our petition or get more involved.

Details of how to organise an event, promote the FBW cause at any events you are involved in at any time throughout the year, or get involved in the Westminster Campaign Cruise are available here