In this article CGI member Guy Chrisholm reflects on his involvement in CGI's pro-bono project supporting the Edinburgh Union Canal Society.

November 2022

I live within a stone’s throw of the Union Canal in Edinburgh, and it formed an important part of my day during lockdown – a calm place to walk at lunchtimes, an offroad pathway into the city centre and a quick route out of the city cycling along the towpath to the Pentland Hills. 

In a big city, the provision of greenspace and routes that avoid roads is important for keeping the community active, and the Union Canal is a great resource for Edinburgh in this respect.

The Edinburgh Union Canal Society is a newly reformed charity promoting the appreciation of the canal. Though their application for a grant from One City Trust (Edinburgh’s Inclusion Trust) wasn’t successful, the trust approached CGI to see whether any of our members had appropriate skills to help out. Without hesitation, I leapt at the opportunity to get involved.

Enter team CGI

The charity’s new committee wants to maximise their reach now that they’re up and running again. As such, they were looking for assistance in getting further engagement from the public by developing their website, driving traffic to it, linking in all their social media profiles and creating online forums for discussion and ideas. So that’s what we got to work doing!

First, we incorporated all the elements they wanted into their site. Then, to make it easy for them to apply for all of the donated or discounted tools and solutions that are on offer for nonprofits and charities, we put in place an appropriate domain name ( and successfully registered them with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) using this domain as our identifier.

So, as a result of our pro bono support, the charity are now able to do those applications and be verified quickly and easily, without the need for excessive paperwork.

200 members for our 200-year-old canal

The Union Canal is turning 200 this year, and the society is aiming to reach 200 members by the end of 2022 to celebrate. If you love our city as much as I do, signing up is a great way to show support for one of our most beautiful resources – and at the end of the year your name might be drawn to receive a great prize!

Having moved to the area in early 2020, my ability to meet new people and get involved in the local community was certainly hampered by the pandemic. This project has been an amazing way to improve on both of those fronts, as well as experiment with new technology and apply it to a good cause. It’s really nice to feel like I’m making a difference.

Find out more about the EUCS and all the things they’re up to on their website.