News article created on 13 July 2018

July news update

Hello and welcome to the July update from the London volunteer team. There's a huge amount going on this month on the waterway so read on for news of Towpath Taskforce events, new volunteer roles in London Docklands, awards success and most importanly the summer BBQ.

Volunteers from Morgan Stanley at Bow Locks Volunteers from Morgan Stanley at Bow Locks

All change

As many of you are aware, there have recently been some changes at the Trust. We have a new focus on making life better by water, our new logo and as of 4 June we are part of a new region, London and the South East. Our new region includes the previous London waterway plus the Grand Union Canal to Milton Keynes and part of the Oxford Canal. At the end of June we said a fond farewell to our retiring waterway manager Jon Guest. Our new London and South East regional director, Ros Daniels, joins the Trust in August. In the meantime Tav Kazmi is our interim regional director and will become our deputy director once Ros is in post. We hope that you will have the chance to meet Ros and Tav out on the towpath or at future events.

On the ground in the London area you should see very little change to the people you work with on a day to day basis, however if you have any questions or concerns please do talk to your task manager or contact Debbie Vidler, volunteer development coordinator –  

As well as a new region we also have a new Instagram page! It will be highlighting all the amazing work you do for us, as well as a few competitions - so keep your eyes peeled and follow us @crt_londonandse_volunteers

Towpath Taskforce

Towpath repairs at Broxourne

Towpath repairs at Broxbourne from Tony O'Dell

Join us at Towpath Taskforce to enjoy the sunshine!  In the coming weeks we’ll be out at Hanwell, Broxbourne and Haggerston among others, helping to get our waterways looking their best.  More information on each of these events can be found by clicking the links below.  Details of the rest of the August programme can be found here. All tools, equipment and instruction will be supplied.   We are trying to reduce our use of single use plastic, so where possible please bring your own refillable bottle of water with you to these events. Please wear old clothes and hard-soled footwear and don’t forget the sun cream and sun hat!

  • Saturday 14 July, 10am – 3.30pm – Painting, litter picking and vegetation cutback at St Pancras Lock on the Regent’s Canal. Meet us at St Pancras Lock, N1C 4PN. Nearest station – Kings Cross St Pancras.

  • Wednesday 18 July, 10am – 3.30pm - Painting, litter picking and vegetation cutback on the Hanwell Flight. Meet us at 10am by Lock 90 (Norwood Top Lock) off Havelock Road, UB2 4PL. Nearest station – Southall.

  • Saturday 21 July, 10am – 3.30pm - Continuing resurfacing the towpath, cutting back of vegetation and litter picking at Carthagena Lock on the River Lee. Meet us at Carthagena Lock via the towpath from Old Nazeing Rd, EN10 6TA. Nearest station -Broxbourne.

  • Wednesday 23 July, 10am - 3.30ppm – vegetation clearance at Haggerston on the Regent’s Canal. Meet us by Whitmore Road Bridge, N1 5QG. Nearest station – Haggerston.

  • Wednesday 1 August, 10am – 3.30pm - Continuing resurfacing the towpath, cutting back of vegetation and litter picking at Carthagena Lock on the River Lee. Meet us at Carthagena Lock via the towpath from Old Nazeing Rd, EN10 6TA. Nearest station -Broxbourne.

  • Saturday 4 August, 10am – 3.30pm – Canal clean up at Hayes on the Grand Union Canal. Meet us by Station Road Bridge, UB3 4BG. Nearest station Hayes & Harlington.

  • Saturday 11 August, 10am – 3.30pm – Cutting back overgrown vegetation, clearing fly tipping and walking litter pick from Lea Bridge to Old Ford Lock. Meet us by the Princess of Wales Pub, Lea Bridge Road, E5 9RB. Nearest station Clapton

Volunteers wanted for Tug of War team at Mile End – Saturday 14 July

We are looking for volunteers to join a Trust team taking part in the Tug of War event at the Village Butty Fair at Mile End this Saturday, 14 July. If you are interested in taking part please contact Gareth George –

Volunteers needed for Angel Canal Festival – Sunday 2 September

Angel Canal Festival 

The Angel Canal Festival has graced the Regent’s Canal at City Road for over 30 years and is one of the highlights of the festival season. This year the management group have handed over the running to the Trust and we want to do them and festival proud! To help make this year’s festival as brilliant as ever we are looking for volunteers to help with a range of roles throughout the day from set up to take down and everything in between. If you are able to give a few hours on the day to help please contact Debbie Vidler –

Volunteering opportunities aplenty in Docklands!

This month we’re looking for volunteers to help with a range of roles in  the London Docklands near Canary Wharf, there really is something for everyone!

  • West India Quay Pontoon Painting – we’re looking for volunteers to help transform an access pontoon at West India Quay, close to the Museum of London Docklands. Activities will include preparing and painting railings and replacing deck boards. It’s a great chance to work in an iconic location and make a real difference to the dock area. If you are able to help on any weekday between Wednesday 18 July and Tuesday 7 August please contact Debbie Vidler –

  • Admin Support Volunteer – based at our Docklands office on Manchester Road, develop or utilise your admin skills in this varied role supporting our operations and enquiries teams.

  • Operations Support Volunteer – help support our central London operations team. Based out of the Docklands office on Manchester Road you will travel around the Lower River Lee and Regent’s Canal carrying out reactionary jobs, updating onsite information and delivering equipment to staff and fellow volunteers.

Volunteering Week

Volunteers week 2018 London photo montage

The first week of June was Volunteers Week. To celebrate, the London team came up with a few ideas to say thank you for all the amazing work you have been doing and continue to do for us!

21 volunteers joined us for a fascinating tour of Brentford led by Sam Thomas, customer operations manager. Sam led us on a tour from Thames Lock through to the Brentford Toll House where we enjoyed lunch together. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, thank you to Sam and everyone who came along.

Throughout June staff members went out to visit some volunteer sites to learn more about the amazing work our volunteers do. Jamal Thomas a member of the Enquiries London team had this to say:

“I had a great time during volunteer week on my day trip to meet volunteer lock keepers Peigi and Eddie at Camden. They were both very warm and welcoming and I found out that they go above and beyond to help boats through- even jumping on to assist them at other locks down the way! The impact an informative and friendly face can make in making life better by the canals & rivers is amazing and it’s all down to our volunteers.” 

Thank you to all those who took part, all the staff really enjoyed themselves and came away with a greater understanding of how important your volunteering is for the Trust.

Finally, keep a look out at your volunteering sites as our staff have been hiding biscuits and thank you cards for you. When you see them, take a photo and send it to Linzi MacDonald –

Waterways Alive Win for Stonebridge

We’re delighted to announce that the ‘Spirit of Stonebridge’ has won the award for Community Activity at the Trust’s recent Waterways Alive Awards. ‘Spirit of Stonebridge’ encompasses a number of initiatives which have transformed a heavily vandalised area of the River Lee into a busy community hub enjoyed by the local community. Along with the local café, volunteers have been integral to the transformation of the site, particularly our team of volunteer lock keepers and local adoption group the Stonebridge Lock Coalition so a huge thank you and well done to them. The win continues a successful run for the London area as last year we found success with the brilliant Brentford Archive Project, our fingers are crossed for 2019!    

Meet the Stonebridge Lock Coalition

Watch the video

Hot on the heels of the Waterways Alive win, we though it was timely  to feature the Stonebridge Lock Coalition. Hear about their work to transform the River Lee and surrounding waterways and green spaces. To find out more about the group or get involved, visit their Facebook page or pop along to the Tottenham Marshes River Fete at Stonebridge Lock on Saturday 28 July, 11.30am – 3.30pm.

Plastic Free Volunteering

I’m sure many of you, like us, are so pleased to see the recent increase in the awareness of the harm plastic is doing to our waterways. As a result, we’ve seen a huge rise in the number of people wanting to get out and tackle this issue. As well as supporting even more clean up events, we also wanted to look at how we can reduce the amount of single use plastics we use as part of volunteering, hence Plastic Free Volunteering!

As a first step we are encouraging everyone who volunteers with us to bring a reusable drinks bottle with them when they volunteer. We hope this will help us reduce the number of single use water bottles we give out, and subsequently throw away, of course we will still ensure we have water available! We’re also stopping the use of plastic cable ties on our signs and posters unless absolutely necessary and replacing with string. For future initiatives we’re looking at how we can provide reusable water bottles at events, developing a new litter ranger role and forming partnerships to enable us to get more volunteers out onto the water to collect floating plastics and other litter.

We will keep you updated on our journey in future newsletters. If you have any ideas of what else we can do to move towards Plastic Free Volunteering please get in touch with Linzi MacDonald -  

Volunteers Summer BBQ – Thursday 30 August

The summer has been a scorcher so far, fingers crossed it continues for this year’s summer BBQ which will take place on Thursday 30th August, 5pm-8pm, on the green space opposite the Little Venice Office, The Toll House, Delamere Terrace, W2 6ND. Anyone who has volunteered with the Trust in the past year is welcome to come along and you can also bring a partner or other ‘plus one’ if you wish.

This year the BBQ is Bring Your Own Bottle. The Trust will provide food and soft drinks but if you would like a beer or wine to go with your burgers please bring your own alcoholic beverages. If you would like to come please let us know (we don’t want to run out of food!) by completing the survey here. It should be a lot of fun, we hope you can join us!

Dates for your Diary

About this blog

London volunteering team

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.

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