I have just been reading the lead article in a May's edition of Towpath Talk about funding plans for the Canal & River Trust and I must say I am rather encouraged. This is not about the big issues of government grants, property portfolios or the like but about what having the new charity status can bring to the party..donations!!
The number of people who use the canal environs far outnumber boaters and all these people have a stake in wanting their canal to prosper and it is these people who are the target audience for future fund raising. A Friends of the C&RT scheme is being launched where people can donate a small amount each month by direct debit and receive a quarterly magazine, a badge and a canal walks booklet. The aspect of their fund raising plans that particularly impressed me however was the SMS scheme. There will be a list of 50 C&RT related projects listed on the new website and people will be able to simply text a £3 donation to a specific project. The example given in the press release is being able to buy a tree for a canal side planting scheme where your donation goes directly to that specific project. I rather liked this and I believe it will appeal to many people. It is accepted that boaters already make their contribution through their licence fee but there is nothing to stop boaters from becoming Friends to C&RT or influencing projects that will enhance our enjoyment of canals and rivers by making a text donation every now and then. Who knows, more litter picking, more dog poo bins, more moorings, more trees, more picnic areas, more....the list could be endless.