Canal Boat - - Contents -

Canal & River Trust’s re-brand, IWA aims to fill the gaps in boater ser­vices, prob­lems at Marple and on the BCN, and a Crick Show re­port

The Canal & River Trust launched its promised re­brand and new logo in May – fol­lowed by as­sur­ances from Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Richard Parry that de­spite the new em­pha­sis on pub­lic well­be­ing, “boats and boaters will al­ways be at the heart of what the Trust is for”.

The Trust sees the launch as a ma­jor suc­cess and a “cost ef­fec­tive roll-out” man­aged to achieve over 100 pieces of me­dia pub­lic­ity. These in­cluded na­tional TV, ra­dio and press cov­er­age for its mes­sage that “wa­ter­ways are uniquely placed to make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to im­prov­ing the well­be­ing of the na­tion” – cit­ing de­pri­va­tion, obe­sity, stress, anx­i­ety and phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity as is­sues where the abil­ity to take a walk along­side a canal or river can help.

It is no se­cret that the hope is to make the case for con­tin­ued pub­lic fund­ing for CRT af­ter the end of the cur­rent con­tract in 2027 by de­mon­strat­ing that the wa­ter­ways sat­isfy the Gov­ern­ment’s wider pri­or­i­ties.

Even though the Trust told Canal Boat at the time of its launch six years ago that it fore­saw a re­quire­ment for con­tin­ued pub­lic fund­ing be­yond the end of the ini­tial con­tract (al­beit prob­a­bly at a lower level, given that it an­tic­i­pated that by then ten per­cent of to­tal in­come would come from ‘char­i­ta­ble’ sources such as do­na­tions), it is now sug­gested that Gov­ern­ment de­part­ment De­fra has suf­fered a form of col­lec­tive am­ne­sia on the mat­ter.

How­ever Mr Parry ac­cepted that in stress­ing these is­sues, “some boaters felt our mes­sage ig­nored the core pur­pose of the canal and river nav­i­ga­tions – that is, for boats to use”.

He said that “the ma­jor­ity of our an­nual ex­pen­di­ture (well over £100m per an­num) goes into keep­ing the wa­ter­ways op­er­a­tional and safe for boats”, but that “it re­ally is in every­one’s in­ter­est that we seek to ad­dress and en­gage a wider and dif­fer­ent au­di­ence”. And in re­sponse to wide­spread crit­i­cism of the new logo, CRT told Canal

Boat that the sim­ple cir­cu­lar de­sign was aimed at be­ing used in places such as on so­cial me­dia and tourist road signs like the Na­tional Trust logo, with the aim of it be­com­ing as well-known.

Al­though the new logo was very much in ev­i­dence at Crick Show, the Trust main­tains that in a £60,000 ex­er­cise funded from the ex­ist­ing pub­lic­ity bud­gets (CRT has dis­missed al­le­ga­tions of a cost run­ning into mil­lions as un­founded), it will take some time for sig­nage and uni­forms to be changed as they be­come due in com­ing years, rather than in a bulk re­place­ment.

The new logo in ev­i­dence at CRT’s Crick dis­play

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