Yorkshire businesses reap the benefits of charitable partnership

Canal & River Trust, the charity which protects and preserves Yorkshire’s historic canals and rivers, is appealing for companies across the region to join the growing number of Yorkshire-based corporates who are benefiting from helping to look after their local waterway.

By partnering with Canal & River Trust, several companies are already improving the environment for wildlife, local people and their employees by ‘adopting’ a stretch of waterway near their premises. Leeds Building Society blazed the trail two years ago, taking part in volunteering activities along the stretch of the waterway adjoining their Leeds-based office – and they haven’t looked back, renewing their ‘canal adoption’ for a second year.

And in the last few months, companies from Skipton to Todmorden have added their names to the list. These include Dechra Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing in Skipton, Weir Minerals in Todmorden, Cosmos Solutions in Shipley and Yorkshire Water. Meanwhile, Addleshaw Goddard LLP in Leeds have signed up to take part in the scheme.

Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, has become integral to many companies’ operations and values. Canal & River Trust can offer a unique opportunity to contribute to the environment and society in which your business is based, as well as build and motivate your teams.

“Many companies have colleague wellbeing at the top of their agendas, especially post-pandemic,” says Nicola Christian, Business and Corporate Engagement Partner at Canal & River Trust. “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. 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.”

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,” adds Nicola. “It’s a way to put something back and your local community and the wildlife that lives there will love you for it.”

Nicola continues: “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.”

Feedback from some corporate partners shows the value of these volunteering days to their employees and local communities.

Tammy Johnson, HR Business Partner at Dechra, says: “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, Cosmos Solutions, adds: “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.”

Sally Gabriel, Senior SHE Advisor, Weir Minerals, says: “We have adopted part of the Rochdale Canal that borders our Todmorden site, working in partnership with Canal & River Trust to make a difference to our local waterway by creating and improving spaces that can be used every day by everyone. Our environmental champions and colleagues from various departments have relished volunteering to spend days on lock 17 and 18, giving something back to the area in which we work and where a lot of colleagues live. 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 supporting a stretch of your local canal or river, contact Nicola Christian, Business and Corporate Engagement Partner, Canal & River Trust, on 07483 130087 or email nicola.christian@canalrivertrust.org.uk

To find out more about the work of Canal & River Trust, including how you can support through volunteering or making a donation, go to www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

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This article was published on Yorkshire-Business.com, the website for West & North Yorkshire Chamber members.

Yorkshire businesses reap the benefits of charitable partnership