Sheffield communities explore local canal

The boat trip that inspired one local community to discover why life is better by water.

Sheffield community discovers the benefits of life by water Sheffield community discovers the benefits of life by water

Lunchtime on Saturday 29 September, Sean McGinley, our new Yorkshire & North East regional director, along with three of his team, set sail on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal. The purpose of the trip was introduce the canal and its healthy lifestyle benefits to 32 local people, a mixture of faiths and first languages, some coming from as far as Somalia and Syria, all of whom had chosen to make Sheffield their home.

Sailing out along the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal Sailing out along the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal

Dr Rafik Al-Sakkaf and Dr Salha Shahd, community leaders with warm personalities and a shared vision brought everyone together and provided a welcome to all. Together they led introductions and set the scene offering translation to families, friends and individuals alike where required.

The doctors arranged for a fantastic homemade spread, featuring falafel and delicious cous cous dishes.

Canal views on Sheffield community boat trip Canal views on Sheffield community boat trip
Sheffield & Tinsley Canal local community boat trip Sheffield & Tinsley Canal local community boat trip

Along the way we spotted herons and chatted about wildlife, history and opportunities for volunteering

Early on it was clear that while everyone lived near the canal, most had never visited before. There was a shared admiration for this green oasis in what can otherwise be a metallic and industrial city. 

Heron on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal Heron on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal
Waiting to board the Sheffield community boat trip Waiting to board the Sheffield community boat trip

Everyone wanted to get involved

As we approached Victoria Quay to disembark there was a great interest in wanting to help care for and maintain the canal. Interest in volunteering was so high that we couldn’t capture email addresses fast enough! 

The power of the boat trip has led to 11 interested volunteers from a range of communities along the canal corridor. We're now working to develop taster activities for both volunteering and educational workshops

17 November will enable us to take the next step towards the interested becoming the initiated and part of the Canal & River Trust volunteer family.

Sheffield communities discover their local waterway Sheffield communities discover their local waterway
Selfies by the waterway in Sheffield Selfies by the waterway in Sheffield

Last date edited: 9 October 2018