Charity appoints new Regional Director for the West Midlands

The Canal & River Trust has announced the appointment of Henriette Breukelaar as the new director for the West Midlands, starting the role from 1 April 2024.

Julie Sharman, chief operating officer at Canal & River Trust, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Henriette to the Trust.

“She will be an inspiring leader for the West Midlands, whose former industrial canals are uniquely placed to support the recovery of wildlife and bring nature into cities, improve community wellbeing, tackle health inequalities, and support jobs and the regional economy.

“There are challenges ahead to keep our 250-year-old waterways safe and available to all, as more frequent extreme weather events take a toll alongside significant funding challenges. Henriette’s experience will be invaluable in that journey."

Henriette has had a diverse career, most recently as CEO at Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP. Prior to that, she spent four years as an executive director at ExtraCare Charitable Trust, four years as director at High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and ten years as partnerships director with the regional development agency..

Although she doesn’t formally join the Trust until April, Henriette will be taking the opportunity over the coming weeks to start spending time with the Trust’s team of staff, volunteers, and partner organisations. Henriette, who originates from the Netherlands but has chosen to spend much of her working life in the West Midlands, said:

“I am passionate about the region, the people, its culture and heritage. Canals are central to life in the West Midlands and an adequately-funded and well looked after canal network is so important for the health and wellbeing of this special place. I’m excited to be joining the Trust at this pivotal time.”


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