Web giant Google is one of three major organisations which have today announced pledges of support for the Canal and River Trust, the newly-formed charity set to become the guardian of the nation’s 2,000-miles of canals and river banks next month.
Google is going to add UK towpaths to Google Maps for the first time, in a move designed to encourage people to use the country’s canals and waterways and to help to improve access to traffic-free routes through towns and cities for walkers and cyclists.
Access points, bridges, locks and tunnels will all be highlighted when users are planning their journey with Google Maps.
The Canal and River Trust is taking over from British Waterways and the Waterways Trust in England and Wales to become the guardian of the nation’s third-largest collection of listed structures, as well hundreds of important wildlife habitats.
Two more partners of Canal and River Trust were also announced today. Some £1m of funding over ten years is being pledged to the Trust by the People’s Postcode Lottery, which raises money for charitable causes through its players.
And a partnership with the Co-operative Bank will offer people the option of supporting the Trust's conservation work through everyday banking products.
Further information on the partnerships will be announced over the coming months.
A Canal and River Trust spokesman told civilsociety.co.uk that the three new partnerships were all exciting for different reasons. “Currently, half the population of the UK live near a waterway – and yet the towpaths aren’t on the map,” he said. “This partnership with Google will encourage people to use facilities that they may not have known about otherwise and will be a huge boost to our work.
“We are extremely pleased to be receiving such a generous sum from the People’s Postcode Lottery, and are delighted to have a partnership with a major banking group right when we launch – not many new charities can say that.”