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River volunteers are up for Waterways Award

Emdad Rahman

The Lower Regents Coalition (LRC), a group of volunteers based in Tower Hamlets, has reached the finals of the Canal & River Trust’s Living Waterways Awards, which recognises the most inspiring waterway-based projects across the UK. The LRC has been nominated for its Greening the Regents project, a scheme of enhancement events along the Regents Canal, with a focus on inviting local residents to get involved.

Greening the Regents started in November 2014, when the Canal & River Trust drained a 900 metre stretch of the canal for the first time in a century, in order to repair the ageing canal walls.  The LRC took advantage of this unique opportunity and delivered eight clean-up events over six weeks – with support from London waterway charity Thames21, Limehouse kayak hire Moo Canoes, Kier Construction and the Canal & River Trust.  The events attracted 172 volunteers who put in 860 hours and removed countless bottles, cans and plastic bags as well as bulk rubbish including shopping trolleys, appliances, motorcycles and over 120 tyres. They also found an unexploded World War II hand grenade and World War I-era bayonets. In total, the group removed approximately eight to ten tonnes of rubbish.

The next phase of the project was launched with the help of a grant of over £9,900 from the Tower Hill Trust, which funds the provision of green spaces in Tower Hamlets. The LRC used their grant to install floating planters, lily pads and coir pallets seeded with reeds, sedges and iris in three areas of the canal near Ben Jonson Lock, covering a length of over 110 metres.  The group held a two-day event in April and 20 volunteers each day gave their time and enthusiasm and worked very hard to get the installation in place.

LRC founding member Dave Bedford said, “Our work is about enhancing the environment and inviting people to help us care for the canal and green spaces we are lucky enough to have in our neighbourhood.”

The LRC has an ongoing programme of volunteer clean up events. Other activities coming up soon include planting wildflower meadows and installing bird and bat boxes along the canal.

The LRC, along with its partner Moo Canoes, will be at the Grand Union Place Estate’s Summer Fun Day which will be held from noon until 4pm on Saturday, 15th August in Stepney, E1.  Everyone is welcome to come along to the event. You will be able to see what the LRC has been up to, have a paddle in the canal and sign up for future events.  




To find out more about the LRC and its work, please contact Molly Gadenz or Dave Bedford: