Early champions of this initiative were the late Johnny Patterson; a legendary figure who lived on his barge ‘La France’ at the Town quay and Elaine Sealey; resident of the Harts lane estate, adjacent the river. Relatively quickly a trickle of inland navigators arrived to form the community of boat dwellers that make up what are now the river Roding trust moorings. Following the establishment of the charity this (and hopefully further) sites for boats became instituted with formal arrangements with the relevant bodies.
The scale of the project is considerable. Pollution and refuse choke the watercourse, but thanks to enormous community support and engagement – much has already been achieved.
Gaining Charity status
The Friends of the River Roding was formed in the summer of 2017 as a community-led effort to restore the River Roding, with particular focus on the lower reaches around Barking and Ilford. In the summer of 2019, we became a registered charity in the form of the River Roding Trust. The objects of the River Roding Trust are as follows:
“To preserve, protect and restore the River Roding for the public benefit and to undertake and carry on projects and activities of a charitable nature related to the river which will assist in promoting recreation, protecting the environment and educating the public about the history of the river.”– River Roding Trust
Over the past few years, we have already achieved a lot, working on a budget of around £5,000 per year, all of which is voluntarily contributed by the boaters who live on the river and form the backbone of the project. The things we have achieved include planting 100’s of trees along the river, removing significant amounts of rubbish from the river, putting in benches and flower beds for local people along the river and re-opening overgrown riverside pathways. Following our charity registration, we have plans to significantly increase the amount of work we do in relation to restoring the river.