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New wave: play your part in the second Golden Age of Canals

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PRESS RELEASE

 

16 January 2020

 

NEW WAVE: PLAY YOUR PART IN THE SECOND GOLDEN AGE OF CANALS

 

Community spirit is alive and well on the nation’s canals with record numbers of people volunteering, says the waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust. 

 

To meet the growing demand from people to spend time helping to care for its waterways across England and Wales, the Trust is expanding the number and range of volunteering roles that if offers: everything from the iconic lock keeper to teaching children about water safety; from inspiring youngsters to take up fishing to supporting its wide range of professional teams.

 

Richard Parry, chief executive at Canal & River Trust, said: “As we enter a new year, and a new decade, we are delighted that so many people want to support the Canal & River Trust and make a difference to their local community.

 

“On the waterways, community spirit is very much alive and well, with our canals and river navigations at the heart of such a diverse variety of villages, towns and cities across England & Wales.  And, with so many ways to get involved, 2020 can be a year when more people take positive action for their local canal, for their community, and – because we know that volunteering and spending time outdoors, by water, is good for wellbeing – for themselves.”

 

In 2019 Canal & River Trust saw record numbers of people volunteer 671,000 hours of their time to the waterways.  There was a 27% increase in the number of volunteer lock keepers across the network, to 1,130, and the first volunteer to record a staggering 10,000 hours of volunteering time since the charity’s formation in 2012. 

 

Richard continues: “With more boats on the nation’s canals than at the height of the Industrial Revolution, and research showing that spending time by water helps people feel happier and healthier, it’s a great time to discover Britain’s waterways. 

 

“Far from being industrial relics or unloved backwaters, the dedicated efforts of thousands of volunteers have made canals the heart of the communities they run through.  And with a remarkable 50% of the population living within five miles of a canal or river navigation, they are perfectly placed to provide free, accessible, natural environments where everyone can come to unwind and to embrace a happier and healthier lifestyle.”

 

In 2020 Canal & River Trust is building on the popularity of waterways volunteering by creating an even wider range of volunteer roles.  Opportunities include:

 

·         Volunteer lock keepers and towpath rangers

Volunteer lock keepers and towpath rangers offer a friendly welcome to visitors and boaters and help people get to know their local canal.  The Trust is offering more flexibility in terms of time commitment and scope of these ever-popular and iconic roles, with some positions still available in a few spots across the country.

·         Education volunteers

Volunteers work with schools to teach pupils about water safety and anything and everything canal-related, inspiring the next generation of waterway-lovers.  They can also take part in running activities on the towpath, at canal festivals, and local fairs.

·         Let’s activity volunteers

Volunteers for the Trust’s Let’s Fish programme help host hundreds of free learn-to-fish events for all the family.  The Trust is building its Let’s activity programme and there will be further opportunities, for example walk leaders, throughout the year.

·         National Waterway Museums and attractions

The Trust’s three museums as well as iconic attractions such as the World Heritage Site at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct or Standedge Tunnel - the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel – all offer volunteer opportunities.

·         Towpath Taskforce

Towpath Taskforces are flexible opportunities for volunteers to come along whenever they’re free, whether that’s once a month or more regularly.  Tasks can include lock-painting, hedge-planting, weeding gardens, litter-clearance from land and water, repairing towpaths and more – depending on what’s most needed in that area.

 

Richard concludes: “The arteries of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, the waterways were once in danger of being forgotten about when the demand for waterborne freight declined.  We owe a debt to the hard-working volunteers who helped to save them.  It’s heartening to see this passion for the waterways continue, as a new generation of volunteers continues to give us its support.  Our passionate volunteers have helped our charity to achieve so much and, with the waterways busier than ever before, we are enjoying a second Golden Canal Age, their benefit to people everywhere now firmly established.”

 

For further details please visit our website: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer

 

-ends-

 

For further information, images or interviews, please contact:

Fran Read, national press officer, Canal & River Trust

m 07796 610 427 e [email protected]  

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It's a golden age if you're an overhanging tree, not so golden for lock furniture and the like. 

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8 minutes ago, BWM said:

It's a golden age if you're an overhanging tree, not so golden for lock furniture and the like. 

Wasn't the "Golden Age" characterised by heavy freight tonnages and by prosperity? Perhaps CART intend to reintroduce freight carrying on narrow canals, reckoning that as absolutely every job is done free of charge, they're bound to make some money.

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2 hours ago, Loddon said:

Golden age, my ar$e.....

My thoughts exactly, I was cruising round the BCN very recently. The wyrley and Essington, Daw End canal , Walsall Canal. A complete mess. The only thing I didn’t see was a body in the cut. Empty pounds, locks clogged with weed and rubbish, faulty lock gear, shallow water, a wall of shopping trolleys across the canal in the bottom pound of Ryder’s green locks. Druggies needles in the water, not pleasant when you’ve got go into the weed hatch. An an utter disgrace. I won’t be returning. 

Mr Parry has obviously never visited these parts of the system 

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1 hour ago, plato said:

My thoughts exactly, I was cruising round the BCN very recently. The wyrley and Essington, Daw End canal , Walsall Canal. A complete mess. The only thing I didn’t see was a body in the cut. Empty pounds, locks clogged with weed and rubbish, faulty lock gear, shallow water, a wall of shopping trolleys across the canal in the bottom pound of Ryder’s green locks. Druggies needles in the water, not pleasant when you’ve got go into the weed hatch. An an utter disgrace. I won’t be returning. 

Mr Parry has obviously never visited these parts of the system 

He has, he was on Tawny Owl in one year, and several boats the year after when he was doing his "getting in with the boaters" phase.

Unfortunately since then, he has been far too busy with volunteers and disaster management to remember what boating is really about.

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1 hour ago, matty40s said:

He has, he was on Tawny Owl in one year, and several boats the year after when he was doing his "getting in with the boaters" phase.

Unfortunately since then, he has been far too busy with volunteers and disaster management to remember what boating is really about.

He boated with us last year on the BCN challenge.

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3 hours ago, plato said:

My thoughts exactly, I was cruising round the BCN very recently. The wyrley and Essington, Daw End canal , Walsall Canal. A complete mess. The only thing I didn’t see was a body in the cut. Empty pounds, locks clogged with weed and rubbish, faulty lock gear, shallow water, a wall of shopping trolleys across the canal in the bottom pound of Ryder’s green locks. Druggies needles in the water, not pleasant when you’ve got go into the weed hatch. An an utter disgrace. I won’t be returning. 

You could always go back and help a litter picking group rather than just rant about the bloke who is in charge of raising awareness and money ...

  • Greenie 3

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12 hours ago, plato said:

My thoughts exactly, I was cruising round the BCN very recently. The wyrley and Essington, Daw End canal , Walsall Canal. A complete mess. The only thing I didn’t see was a body in the cut. Empty pounds, locks clogged with weed and rubbish, faulty lock gear, shallow water, a wall of shopping trolleys across the canal in the bottom pound of Ryder’s green locks. Druggies needles in the water, not pleasant when you’ve got go into the weed hatch. An an utter disgrace. I won’t be returning. 

Mr Parry has obviously never visited these parts of the system 

I cruise the BCN a lot.  I'd agree that parts of the Walsall Canal are awful, but much of the rest of it is surprisingly nice, and not like your description.  Where there are bad bits, I'm not sure what you expect CRT to do when the locals keep throwing shopping trolleys in and injecting drugs?  Aren't these wider problems with society?

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15 hours ago, BWM said:

It's a golden age if you're an overhanging tree, not so golden for lock furniture and the like. 

The North Stratford is in the process of having its overhanging trees cut back.

 

MP.

 

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12 hours ago, plato said:

Druggies needles in the water, not pleasant when you’ve got go into the weed hatch. An an utter disgrace. I won’t be returning. 

 

I agree. CRT should be providing special bins for responsible druggies to put their needles in so they are no longer forced by CRT's callous attitude to throw them in the canal.

 

I'm OUTRAGED CRT don't already supply these bins, at least in the more popular drug-taking sections of canal.

 

 

  • Greenie 2

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1 minute ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

I agree. CRT should be providing special bins for responsible druggies to put their needles in so they are no longer forced by CRT's callous attitude to throw them in the canal.

 

I'm OUTRAGED CRT don't already supply these bins, at least in the more popular drug-taking sections of canal.

 

 

Joking aside, there is usually at least one sharps bucket on the underground section of the Rochdale 9.

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9 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

You could always go back and help a litter picking group rather than just rant about the bloke who is in charge of raising awareness and money ...

Hi Biscuits. Apologies if my comments came over as a bit of a rant

.But just because Mr Parry is busy raising  money and ‘awareness’ doesn’t mean he can’t be criticised for an obvious lack of maintenance. 

I appreciate these are urban canals and will never be in pristine condition.

A bit of litter picking is going to do very little to make those sections easier to navigate.

For the record, in 35 hours cruising I ended up down the weed hatch 5 times plus several times leaning over the stern clearing rubbish from the prop.

The two lumps of carpet, tracksuit bottoms and wire, lump of polythene and rope, sheet of  tarpaulin, sleeping bag and bean bag that were removed from the prop were all bagged up and put in the rubbish disposal point , add the two bin liners of rubbish fished out of a lock and In the end I had cleared nine black bin liners of rubbish from the canal. So I think I contributed my bit towards cleaning up.

The amount of rubbish in the cut is appalling round there. Perhaps I was unlucky on this trip.  in my previous 12 years of cruising the cut from London to Llangollen and all areas in between I’d only had occasion to use the weed hatch twice, perhaps I’ve been lucky up to now. 

It might be a gap of two or three years before I cover old ground and revisit canals I’ve cruised before and I am often dismayed by the obvious decline in the state of repair I encounter. 

I feel for CRT as they’ve a lot to maintain on an insufficient budget. And yes they do some sterling work in places, But a lot more needs to be done in that part of the system.

There’s a guy on you tube called Dazzies travels he posts videos of still photos taken on the BCN from about nine years ago. The contrast in conditions is stark when you compare what it was then to what it is now. 

Rant over!

To end on a positive note it wasn’t all bad. I came through catshill junction onto the Daw end canal one morning and soon saw five roe deer grazing on some scrubby ground ,pure magic. Also I saw a really lovely sunset one crisp frosty evening when I moored at Pelsall junction, happy days.

 

 

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1 minute ago, plato said:

In the end I had cleared nine black bin liners of rubbish from the canal. So I think I contributed my bit towards cleaning up.

Then I owe you an apology.   It is one of my hobbyhorses, as usually the people who complain the most about rubbish in the canals won't help get rid of any.

 

Thanks for not being one of them!

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Just now, TheBiscuits said:

Then I owe you an apology.   It is one of my hobbyhorses, as usually the people who complain the most about rubbish in the canals won't help get rid of any.

 

Thanks for not being one of them!

Thanks Biscuits that’s very magnanimous of you. I love life on the cut and it really breaks my heart to see it in decline. 

  • Greenie 1

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17 hours ago, plato said:

My thoughts exactly, I was cruising round the BCN very recently. The wyrley and Essington, Daw End canal , Walsall Canal. A complete mess. The only thing I didn’t see was a body in the cut. Empty pounds, locks clogged with weed and rubbish, faulty lock gear, shallow water, a wall of shopping trolleys across the canal in the bottom pound of Ryder’s green locks. Druggies needles in the water, not pleasant when you’ve got go into the weed hatch. An an utter disgrace. I won’t be returning. 

Mr Parry has obviously never visited these parts of the system 

 Richard Parriy with volunteers from one of the BCN Clean Up Weekends

 

 

181 BCN Clean Up New Main Line Wolverhampton 1st April 2017.JPG

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48 minutes ago, Tim Lewis said:

 Richard Parriy with volunteers from one of the BCN Clean Up Weekends

 

 

181 BCN Clean Up New Main Line Wolverhampton 1st April 2017.JPG

"Has anyone seen my Hi-vis?"

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17 hours ago, matty40s said:

"Has anyone seen my Hi-vis?"

 

Don't want any volunteers getting mown down by speeding cyclists, who then complain they couldn't see them! 😁

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Who does the CDM- Construction Design & Management.? for the CRT ?

 

But then speeding cyclists on the towpath infringes such rules anyway.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Heartland said:

Who does the CDM- Construction Design & Management.? for the CRT ?

 

But then speeding cyclists on the towpath infringes such rules anyway.

 

 

The rationale behind CDM is that everybody in the construction process is involved right from the person who instigates a project down through the designers and the contractors.

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On 17/01/2020 at 09:41, MoominPapa said:

The North Stratford is in the process of having its overhanging trees cut back.

 

MP.

 

I noticed a group of IWA volunteers have been cutting back the offside trees between Fradley Junction and Huddlesford and it's much better there now. I wish it was more widespread over the rest of the system.

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16 hours ago, Tim Lewis said:

The rationale behind CDM is that everybody in the construction process is involved right from the person who instigates a project down through the designers and the contractors.

And under the regulations it is the responsibility of CRT, as client, to ensure that the relevant duties are carried out, and that those appointed are competent for their particular roles.

Edited by David Mack

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As parts of the canal can be fenced off as a construction site. On Farmer's Bridge locks, there have been cases of cyclists speeding past on the narrow space between fence and towpath edge. Whilst is was not in the CDM area, it was reckless behavior that affected both boaters and walkers.

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1 hour ago, Heartland said:

As parts of the canal can be fenced off as a construction site. On Farmer's Bridge locks, there have been cases of cyclists speeding past on the narrow space between fence and towpath edge. Whilst is was not in the CDM area, it was reckless behavior that affected both boaters and walkers.

I have a few stories about similar idiots and big lumps of tree, whatever controls are in place idiots will find a way to ruin your day

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On 17/01/2020 at 10:12, TheBiscuits said:

Joking aside, there is usually at least one sharps bucket on the underground section of the Rochdale 9.

And thats after we volunteers go down there and pick them up, on a farly regular basis. I do agree there are literally bucket loads of them. The whole area is a problem to which no-one has yet come up with a sensible, cost effective solution. However the lease on Rodwell tower runs out relativly soon, (next 30 yrs) I believe, so Town Centre Securities may come up with a new solution. It is all privatley owned still dont forget, even C&RT only have a lease on the Canal watery bit, and City of Manchester have a lease on the towpath, its a real mess, in all sorts of ways.

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