The number of volunteers giving their time to British Waterways on the nation’s canals and rivers over the past year has increased by 67 per cent. With members of the public now giving up their time to undertake a number of important waterway roles, the welcome growth in volunteering comes ahead of a ‘national trust-type’ charity taking over the guardianship of British Waterways’ canals and rivers from 2012.
Members of the pubic spent 24,234 days working with British Waterways and the total monetary value of volunteering to the organisation in the financial year 2010/11 is calculated to be £1,626,104.
British Waterways’ national volunteering manager, Edward Moss, said: “There is a real appetite for volunteering on our waterways and we are delighted to welcome the increasing numbers of people who are prepared to give up some of their time to help look after this important national treasure.
“Over the past year we have developed the range of opportunities on offer, from long standing tasks such as vegetation management, litter picking and helping look after and crew heritage working boats to taking on the role of volunteer lock keeper, getting involved in environmental surveys and painting locks.
“There really is something for everyone. In addition to the established support from canal trusts and local community groups, we have seen the likes of the Waterways Action Squad, the scheme we run with The Waterways Trust for 16 to 25 year olds, prove very popular with young people in the North West. Across the country, local businesses and community groups have adopted sections of towpath and we now run regular working parties where people can drop by and try their hand at practical tasks, getting an outdoor workout into the bargain!
“The hard work, skills and enthusiasm our volunteers bring is incredibly valuable, and I am positive that when we become the new waterways charity in 2012 we will benefit immensely from their passion and knowledge.”
To find out more about waterways volunteering, please visit: www.waterscape.com/volunteering