I’ve just attended a workshop organised by the IWA and CRT in Birmingham (in a restored canal side warehouse, of course). Mike Snaith and I joined around 40 other restoration groups to discuss how to get better organised and learn from each other’s experiences. It’s the third annual event and each year it gets better. We’ve learnt how to work with funding bodies, how to protect the route and ways to involve the public and community generally. Technical subjects such as how the European Water Framework Directive will impact restoration – we have a real need to think that through, the best ways to line the canal (and importantly what not to use) and how to entice the WRG to aid the construction – cakes and quizzes seem to rank higher than I’d have thought.

Most of all the benefit of days like this are the networking. The opportunity to share experiences on the day and have points of reference in the future is invaluable. The availability of the two organisations of IWA and CRT and contacts with their experts makes a massive difference to all of us involved in local projects. Congratulations and thanks to the organisers.

Chris Madge