THE NATION’S CANAL CHARITY LAUNCHES BIGGEST EVER APPEAL FOR VOLUNTEERS
Thousands of people are being encouraged to join the army of volunteers who work alongside the Canal & River Trust charity in its growing mission to protect and preserve the nation’s 2,000-mile historic canal network across England and Wales.
With volunteering by water proven to come with added wellbeing benefits for those taking part, the Trust is appealing for its biggest ever range of volunteer roles and activities – from the iconic lock keeper, through to numerous community, administrative and professional support, wildlife and heritage conservation opportunities that support the charity.
Over the coming months the charity will be hosting a series of volunteer welcome events across England and Wales where people can find out about the variety of flexible roles and activities they can get involved in, find out how they can make a real difference to local communities, make great friends, and have fun.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, comments: “Still used and navigated by boats just as they were hundreds of years ago, today’s canals have also become vital places in our urban and rural communities providing crucially important habitat for endangered wildlife and special spaces for people to experience nature.
“With the nation’s canals used and enjoyed by more people than ever before, together with the constant threat of climate change, these historic places need constant care to look after them. We need the support of the community and conservation-minded people to help ensure that these precious places are handed onto future generations.”
Research in 2021 by the Trust shows that volunteering by water is good for you. The research found that people who volunteer by water for the Canal & River Trust report being happier, feeling more worthwhile and feeling less anxious than other volunteers or those who don’t volunteer at all. In a recent survey (2023) conducted on behalf the Trust, findings show that half of people surveyed said the reasons they get involved with volunteering are to give something back to their community (48%) and to meet new people and make new friends (31%). Mental wellbeing was another key reason volunteers said they get involved (30%).
Journalist and presenter, Ranvir Singh, is supporting the Canal & River Trust’s appeal having joined volunteers on the Grand Union Canal in London with a project to improve the canal for wildlife. Ranvir comments: “It’s great to consider volunteering for the Canal & River Trust for two reasons: Firstly, for yourself, because working by water makes you feel happier and reduces anxiety; it’s social – an opportunity to meet new people; if you don’t have your own green space, it’s somewhere where you can enjoy nature and the environment for free. The other reason is for the environment – we might feel a bit helpless about what we can do to make a difference, but this is a fantastic way to do your bit, whilst also having a positive impact on your local area.”
To view the range of volunteering opportunities available as well as series of volunteering welcome events which will take place across England and Wales, visit: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer