Jump to content

All Hands on the Don gets a £1m boost

Back to News

Posted 31st July 2023

Don Catchment Rivers Trust is awarded a £987,000 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and match funders to implement the ‘All Hands on the Don’ project.

Today, Don Catchment Rivers Trust (DCRT) has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £695,000, plus £292,000 in match funding for an exciting heritage project, All Hands on the Don, along the River Don around Doncaster. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on the wonderful history and heritage of the river and its local community.

Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will have lots of opportunities for people to learn about their local river, with an emphasis on wellbeing, community participation and natural heritage. From school sessions to volunteering, citizen science to an arts programme, apprenticeships and angling – the project will shine a light on what a special place the River Don is.

The River Don has an unusual history, being re-routed in the 17th century to allow for the draining of Hatfield Chase. It was once one of the most polluted rivers in the country. But, now that fish are populating the river again, All Hands on the Don will improve habitats at two ‘Ings’ sites, providing much needed refuge for fish and wetland birds. Also, the popular Don Valley Way will be extended for 11 miles from Doncaster to Thorne, with local communities contributing their knowledge to information boards along the way.

Rachel Walker, Operations Director at DCRT said:

“The team at Don Catchment Rivers Trust are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. We want to thank all the people and organisations that have helped to develop this project, and we can’t wait to start working with you to deliver all the exciting activities we planned together!”

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

“We are delighted to support Don Catchment Rivers Trust with this project that will encourage a thriving, wildlife-rich river landscape and connect local people with the natural heritage of South Yorkshire. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, it is great to think that this rich heritage will be safeguarded for years to come, and communities will be able to explore the wonderful nature right on their doorsteps.”


All Hands on the Don will be funded and supported by a range of partners, including:

Garfield Weston Foundation

“The Trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation are delighted to support the  ‘All Hands on the Don’ project which we hope improves biodiversity, natural habitats and community engagement in the area.”   Philippa Charles, Director. Garfield Weston Foundation.

Environment Agency

“The Environment Agency is delighted to be supporting Don Catchment Rivers Trust in delivering the All Hands on the Don project, which will help to improve floodplain habitat, increase biodiversity, and also help to reduce diffuse pollution” Lee Thorney, Project Manager, Environment Agency

Yorkshire Water

“Yorkshire Water are delighted to be able to support the All Hands on the Don Project. We share the ambition of unlocking the potential of the Lower River Don as an accessible nature-rich green-blue corridor and of driving biodiversity gains and community benefits along this important feature of the South Yorkshire landscape”, Dr Ben Aston, Principal Ecologist, Yorkshire Water.

Want to add an activity, promote a job, course or volunteer opportunity?

Sign and promote your opportunity on our national finder.

Get Started