A total of 20 teams from across Birmingham’s business community have signed up for the annual Dragonboat Festival taking place later this month at Brindleyplace.

Celebrating its 15th year, the charity boat race sees companies battle it out on the Birmingham and Worcester canal in traditional 40ft long Chinese dragonboats.

This year’s event aims to raise £50,000 for ‘HelpCope’, a strand of local charity, HelpHarryHelpOthers, providing practical and financial support to families living with cancer.

Companies including GVA, Free Radio and West Midlands Fire Service have signed up for the event, which is sponsored by Deutsche Bank.

Richard McCarthy, managing director of Deutsche Bank Birmingham, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Dragonboat Festival and help raise valuable funds for HelpHarryHelpOthers.

“This is the fourth year that Deutsche Bank has sponsored Dragonboat, believing it to be a great event that helps unite the local business community whilst raising money for a very worthwhile cause. This year, Deutsche Bank has three teams taking part in the race, plus 50 employees who have volunteered to help out at the event.”

In 2013, the Dragonboat Festival raised a total of £48,000 for HelpHarryHelpOthers (£22,000 of which was raised by Deutsche Bank).

Since the event started in 2000, Brindleyplace has raised £315,000 for local charities, thanks to the support from Birmingham based businesses.

“We’ll be welcoming back past champions, including West Midlands Fire Service, as well as businesses who are taking part for the first time. I’ve already heard about lots of training going on so I would like to wish all participants the best of luck as we count down to the event at the end of the month.”

Businesses taking part in this year’s Dragonboat Festival include: Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Haines Watts, Hotel La Tour, Wyman Gordon, Moseley Round Table, Crimson, Barclays, Pertemps, Birmingham Publicity Association, DAC Beachcroft, Hozelock, West Midlands Fire Service, GVA, Hines Moorfield and Free Radio.

Kicking off at 10am, each team – made up of 11 rowers and one drummer – will compete in three heats, with the races taking place on the Birmingham and Worcester canal, from the starting point at Pitcher and Piano to the finishing post by the NIA. The winner will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony in Central Square at Brindleyplace following the races.

The Dragonboat Festival is the first of Brindleyplace’s free community events that take place at the estate across the summer.

From June 23 Brindleyplace will be showing Wimbledon live on its outdoor screen, followed by the annual outdoor Film Festival that kicks off on July 7 for one week and will showcase films from the 80s and 90s.