Lowland Canals User Groups

Take a look at previous minutes and find out when the next meeting will be held.

Upcoming User Groups:

We have listened to our customers and following feedback, will be holding evening meetings on each canal once a year. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, our user group meetings for 2020 were postponed, and due to restrictions on public gatherings, our 2020 meeting will take place online.

Lowland Canals User Group

Both Forth & Clyde and Union Canal users are invited to join us on Zoom on Thursday 26th November from 6pm-8pm


If you would like to attend, please RSVP by emailing Paul.Gunning@scottishcanals.co.uk 

Previous minutes:

Review of Meetings:

We have been reviewing the number and range of meetings which currently take place between Scottish Canals and our boating community in the Lowlands each year.

Our Boaters’ Surgeries were introduced to allow discussion on operational matters with key Scottish Canals staff’ representing various departments within the organisation. In addition to these, we have also been meeting with the Lowland Canals Association, who represent boaters, and senior management have continued to meet the Lowland Canals Volunteer Group, which has representatives from all the canal societies. Two Lowland Customer Forums also took place each year on Saturday mornings.

A considerable amount of time is spent preparing presentations, producing minutes, reviewing actions and bookings rooms for all these meetings which have not been all well attended. With that in mind, we believe we can create a more productive and conducive environment for all of us to share ideas about improving the canal experience for everyone and that the following will achieve the results we all need:

  • Executive-level attendance at the Lowland Canals Volunteer Group meetings every two months for high-level sharing of information and collaboration
  • Senior representatives to attend a meeting with the Lowland Canals Association once every six months for a high-level discussion and collaboration
  • An annual public user group meeting on each of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals to give a progress report on the two meetings above and to foster an open discussion/Q&A session where customers can raise operational matters and Scottish Canals can report back on actions achieved
  • A member of the Customer Operations team will continue to spend a day each fortnight working at locations across the Lowlands. They will continue to write to customers in advance so they have the opportunity to drop in and raise any issues with her in person, or via email
  • Regular customer newsletters
  • Social media and an ‘open door’ approach for issues which arise

These changes will be introduced immediately, with the Lowland Customer Forum to be replaced with specific Forth & Clyde and Union Canal User Group in 2018. We are currently confirming quarterly meetings with the LCA and will continue to attend the LCVG. All dates, presentations, minutes and actions will continue to be available on the Customer Hub.

At last year’s User Group meetings we circulated a questionnaire inviting feedback from our boating customers on the format and timings of the sessions going forward. Please see below a breakdown of the results:

Question Asked Feedback Received
Should there be one annual meeting for the Lowlands or should these be split so there is one for each of The Union and Forth & Clyde canals? 40% said of respondents said they want one annual meeting for the Lowlands and 60% want one annual meeting for each of the Union and Forth & Clyde Canals per year.


What format should these sessions take?  Do you want Scottish Canals to give a presentation on updates, would you prefer round-table discussions in groups or an open discussion? 66% of respondents said they wanted knowledgeable Scottish Canals staff to provide a general update followed by an open discussion (but not in break-out groups). Additional presentations from organisations including RYA Scotland, Keep the Canals Alive, Lowland Canals Association were welcomed. Individual break-out groups were not welcomed by the majority of respondents but updates to continue to be published on the Scottish Canals’ website


Who should lead these sessions? Some 85% of respondents said they wanted these sessions to be led by Scottish Canals’ management, including the CEO and directors.
Who should Chair them? Some 50% of respondents suggested that Ronnie Rusack should chair the meetings
Where should they be held? Some 54% of respondents want central locations on each canal, with The Falkirk Wheel, Linlithgow, Kirkintilloch and Glasgow all suggested