Welcome to the April news update from the London volunteering team. This month's newsletter is packed full of opportunities for you to get out in the spring sunshine and make a difference to your local waterway so please read on.
Join us at Towpath Taskforce to soak up that spring sunshine (or possibly those April showers!) We’ll be out at Broxbourne, Hanwell, Haggerston and Little Venice, helping to get our towpaths looking their best. More information on each of these events can be found by clicking the links below. Details of the May events can be found on the London Volunteering page. All tools, equipment and instruction will be supplied, please wear old clothes and hard-soled footwear and if the weather forecast is looking wet, don’t forget the waterproofs!
Pictured above, John Day (far right) at Anderton Boat Lift for the Waterways Alive Awards 2017
We are very sad to report the passing of John Day, volunteer lock keeper and member of the Brentford Archive Project. John joined the Trust in 2015 as a volunteer lock keeper at City Road Lock and went on to also join the Brentford Archive Project, where his IT expertise was invaluable and meant he soon became a key member of the team. Last summer he travelled to Anderton Boat Lift to receive the much deserved Waterways Alive Award for the Brentford Archive Project from Richard Parry. John was a great asset to the Trust and will be greatly missed by the staff and volunteers who worked alongside him.
It’s April, which means one thing, the ‘Critically endangered’ European Eels (Anguilla Anguilla) are back in town. The number of elvers (young eels) joining the adult population have dropped over 95% since the 1980’s due to a range of threats including fresh water barriers to upstream migration, such as the weirs and sluice gates found on our canals and rivers. Because of this, we are working in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London to monitor the elvers passing through a specially installed eel pass at Lea Bridge weir on the River Lee. We are looking for volunteers to help by monitoring of pass, checking and counting the elvers and uploading data to the ZSL website.
If you want to know more about this unique opportunity and how you can get involved click here.
This spring we are looking for friendly volunteers to join the visitor ambassadors at our Little Venice and Ware welcome stations. Welcome stations provide a way for the public to find out more about these special locations, the local area and the different ways to get involved with the Trust. We think it’s a sociable, enjoyable and important role but don’t just take it from us!
“Little Venice is a secret gem in the heart of central London which even locals are unaware of. Locals, tourists and boaters visit the Welcome station where we offer canal history information, maps, tourist advice or just a chat.
We also assist boaters with pump out issues and mooring information, talk to potential boaters about things to consider before buying, give out free Towpath magazines and listen to any concerns boaters have which we feedback to the Trust.
There are often unusual and unexpected happenings, so it is an interesting day. When quiet we litter pick, which is a great way to meet the public and makes a big difference to the overall look and feel of the area."– Jayne, Kevin and Geoff from the Little Venice welcome team.
“Opening the Ware welcome station on Tuesdays has given us a chance to engage with the many varied people you meet upon the towpath, many of whom are fonts of knowledge. We have learned a lot about Ware and its environs.
The team of volunteers with whom we work are also great fun and as well as trying to keep the towpath and surrounding areas clean we also have a laugh and chat.
All in all, a worthwhile cause and we would most certainly recommend it to anyone thinking about volunteering.” – Roger and Eleanor from the Ware welcome team.
As well as helping to look after London’s waterways, we also like a chance to go out and enjoy them without a litter picker, paint brush or broom in hand! In London, the Canal Festival season kicks off on the first May Bank Holiday weekend with the IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice. This year we are looking for volunteers to help support the Trust’s stand at the festival. This will involve helping to set up and take down, promoting London’s waterways, talking to visitors about the Trust, and being on hand to answer whatever questions and queries come our way! Cavalcade is always a fantastic event which attracts a diverse range of visitors from canal enthusiasts to total canal newbies, so this should be a fun opportunity to get involved and share your passion for London’s waterways. If you are able to help over the weekend please contact Debbie Vidler – Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org
This month we caught up with Giles, lead volunteer towpath ranger, lock keeper and boat mover. Giles tells us a bit about his roles, what he enjoys about volunteering with the Trust and advice to those thinking of volunteering with us. If you volunteer with us and want to be part of the ‘meet the volunteer’ feature, please contact Linzi MacDonald - email@example.com
If Giles’ feature has given you a taste for the towpath ranger role then please do join him and the team on one their regular Thursday towpath patrols. Details of the April walks are below. Please meet at 11:00 to begin walking at 11:10 and dress for the weather including sturdy footwear and Canal & River Trust clothing if you have it. The walks typically take between one and a half and two and a half hours depending on the number of activities along the way which could include foliage cutting, graffiti removal, signage improvement and public engagement. If you haven’t been on a ranger walk before please contact Darren Starling – Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you will coming along.
Please click on the date for more information on these events.
Debbie Vidler is the volunteer development coordinator for London. She works with the London team to recruit and support volunteers and celebrates the amazing work they do. Every month she gives a roundup of volunteer events and opportunities coming up across London.See more blogs from this author