Businesses in Yorkshire being encouraged to 'adopt' a waterway by the Canal & River Trust

Businesses in the region are being encouraged to ‘adopt’ a stretch of waterway near their premises by the Canal & River Trust.

The charity, which protects and preserves Yorkshire’s historic canals and rivers, is looking to partner more businesses to enable them to improve staff wellbeing while looking after waterways.

Nicola Christian, business and corporate engagement partner at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Many companies have colleague wellbeing at the top of their agendas, especially post-pandemic.

“Canals and rivers play a vital role in promoting the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, making a positive difference to people’s lives.

Volunteers at Leeds Building Society.

“Spending time by water can promote physical health, support mental wellbeing and tackle social isolation.

“Adopting a mile-long stretch of your local canal is a fantastic way to gain brand recognition through local PR and canal-side promotion.

“It’s also an ideal way to build staff morale, motivating and connecting teams and getting them involved in enhancing and protecting their natural environment in the heart of their local community.”

Several companies are already improving the environment for wildlife, local people and their employees by partnering with the charity.

Leeds Building Society blazed the trail two years ago, taking part in volunteering activities along the stretch of the waterway adjoining its Leeds office. The mutual has renewed its canal adoption for a second year.

Tasks can include litter picks, creating new green spaces, keeping towpaths clean and clear and helping improve habitats for local wildlife.

“Improving a stretch of canal or river is a fantastic way to promote and encourage team building,” Ms Christian said. “It’s a way to put something back and your local community and the wildlife that lives there will love you for it.”

She added: “We can work with your company to develop a volunteering programme that provides a very real and practical experience for your staff while delivering environmental and social impact for your local canal or river.

“We like to develop partnerships with organisations who share our commitment to deliver nature recovery and tackle climate change, while helping to deliver your sustainability commitments.

“All we ask for is a small donation and commitment to regular volunteering days.”

Over the last few months, companies from across Yorkshire have added their names to the list including Dechra Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing in Skipton, Weir Minerals in Todmorden, Cosmos Solutions in Shipley and Yorkshire Water.

While law firm Addleshaw Goddard in Leeds has also signed up to take part in the scheme.

Tammy Johnson, HR business partner at Dechra, said: “The adoption scheme is a great way for us to give back to our local community whilst supporting a sustainable habitat for the local wildlife.

“The scheme has helped to preserve the environment many of our colleagues live and work in.

“Those that have taken part in the volunteering days really enjoyed them and are looking forward to supporting them again.”

Andreas Kkais, managing director at Cosmos Solutions, said: “The canal plays a vital role in the happiness and wellbeing of so many.

“It is an honour to be able to contribute to its upkeep, and the team already have some excellent ideas which will allow us to add our colourful stamp to our local canal in Saltaire.”

Weir Minerals has adopted part of the Rochdale Canal that borders its site in Todmorden, working in partnership with the trust.

Sally Gabriel, senior safety health and environment advisor at Weir Minerals, said: “Our volunteering days with Canal & River Trust have been a huge success, we have had a lot of positive feedback from those involved to let us know how much they enjoyed the day, how it improved their wellbeing being outdoors and that they found it rewarding and relaxing.

It has also provided an opportunity for colleagues to get to know those they do not normally interact with in their day-to-day roles.”

To find out more about adopting a waterway visit: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.