Big increase in canal volunteers

Leeds and Liverpool canal. Photo: Mark Robinson

Leeds and Liverpool canal. Photo: Mark Robinson

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The number of volunteers who help keep the canal system in good shape in the North West is rising.

For the number of volunteer hours has increased by 13.75% over the past 12 months to a staggering 70,777 hours – or 10,111 days – in the Canal & River Trust’s North West and Manchester and Pennine Waterway areas.

This includes the Leeds and Liverpool Canal round us. The Trust is the charity entrusted with the care of the 2,000 miles of waterways and as part of operating and maintaining the canal network has a mission to inspire people to connect with the canal and river network in their local area.

Canals and rivers offer a unique opportunity for local people to get involved to help create a real community asset and to make their waterway a great place to take time out away from the hustle and bustle of every day life and enjoy the rich flora and fauna.

Volunteers take on a huge range of tasks that are integral to the upkeep of the canal system, including helping to keep towpaths clean and tidy, cutting back the vegetation that grows along the canal and river banks, being volunteer lock keepers and looking after people visiting the North West on boating holidays.

Groups of volunteers, organisations and local businesses are also helping out by adopting sections of the canal, with 33 sections of canal in the region now being formally adopted and making a positive difference.

Over 75 different groups of all ages and interests ranging from Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society and others, local businesses to “Can we Dig it’”, a local hospital group whose patients volunteer as part of their recovery programme, are now working with the Trust, ensuring that the region’s historic canal system is maintained for future generations to enjoy.

Canal and River Trust waterway manager Chantelle Seaborn said: “We are very grateful to everyone who volunteers with the Canal and River Trust.

They make the waterways a nicer place to visit, including providing a welcome friendly face for everyone using our wonderful waterways.

In March, Dylan Manning from Burnley Towpath Task Force won the Canal & River Trust’s Young Volunteer For more information about volunteering on the waterways, visit: canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer.