College students create waterside mural at the Trent & Mersey Canal

The charity, Canal & River Trust, working in partnership with students from Stoke on Trent College, have created a mural along the Trent & Mersey Canal to highlight the issue of plastic pollution in the nation’s waterways.

Designed by final year Art, Design and Graphics students from the College, the aim of the artwork is to highlight the Canal & River Trust’s #PlasticsChallenge campaign to remove plastic and litter from the canal and towpath and prevent it ending up in our seas and oceans.

Each year, an estimated 14 million pieces of plastic rubbish end up in and around the nation’s canals and rivers, with around 500,000 pieces flowing out into our oceans. The #PlasticsChallenge campaign, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, encourages local people and boaters to pick up any litter they see whilst exploring their local canal.

The final mural design concepts were created by student Xavier Mordi and were brought to life by Grega Greaves from Creative Arts North Staffs. The artwork can be seen along the Trent & Mersey Canal at Cliff Vale, an area of the canal near to the Cauldon campus and depicts a canal scene with a mermaid character being surrounded by pieces of plastic.

Julianne Joyce, from Canal & River Trust, said: “The mural is looking great next to our canal and really adds a pop of colour. The wall used for the mural used to get graffitied, so the artwork has further enhanced the canal environment.

“I was really impressed at how hard the students worked on coming up with designs to highlight our #PlasticsChallenge campaign. As a charity, we want to work with local people and community groups to help us improve our canals. Projects such as this one really make a difference to the thousands of people who visit and spend time on our canals every year.”

Stoke on Trent College Principal and CEO Lisa Capper MBE, commented: “We are delighted that our Art and Design students have embraced this opportunity to engage with and support the #PlasticsChallenge campaign. Not only has it allowed them to use their creative skills and showcase their imagination and talent, it has also highlighted a compelling environmental story which we must all recognise as being vital to a sustainable future.

“The canal network is a hugely significant part of Stoke-on-Trent’s celebrated industrial heritage which is why we are thrilled our students have helped to brighten up the area along the towpath for boaters, leisure seekers and other users of the network.”

Stoke on Trent College boasts a wide range of Creative, Digital and Art Courses. On 12 and 13 July the College will be holding a pop-up Art and Design exhibition at Smithfield Works.  The showcase will provide an opportunity to celebrate student talents and highlight some of the fabulous work which has been completed throughout the year. The exhibition will be open to the public at various points over the two days. Those wishing to visit are asked to check Stoke on Trent College social channels for opening times.

For more information on Canal & River Trust including how you can donate money or volunteer to support its work visit

Written By
Published on
July 10, 2023 10:54 am