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The charity making life better by water

East Midlands Newsletter February 2022

It's been a flying start to 2022 with preparations being made for the return of our winter open days, a brand new group of young people working with us in Nottingham and some fantastic teamwork opening up a section of the River Soar for boaters and walkers.

Mother and child looking through hole

Winter work open days return

It's all systems go on our waterways as we gear up to hold special open days giving visitors the opportunity to see behind the scenes on some of our biggest and most interesting engineering jobs this winter.

On 26th and 27th February we're inviting members of the public to Newark Town Lock where they'll get to find out exactly what goes in to replacing the River Trent's giant lock gates.

The days will give visitors a rare insight into the inner workings of the lock by venturing around 20 foot deep onto the lock floor. They will be able to see the giant lock gates up close, speak to our expert teams about how locks are repaired and get to see the structure's 200-year-old masonry work that is usually hidden below the waterline. Guided tours within the drained lock will give people a unique opportunity to explore their local river and hear about the charity's work to protect and preserve the waterway.

As well as descending down into the lock visitors will also be able to take a peek inside the nearby dry dock, one of the largest of its kind in the country, and explore the Leicester Trader – one of the few remaining Trent-sized barges that used to carry cargoes on the river.

There will also be family-friendly arts and crafts activities, fishing taster sessions and water safety demonstrations.

A full lock in the centre of a town, with Newark Castle, an old mediaeval ruin, in the distance

Volunteers encouraged to feel the health benefits of working by water

We've launched a major campaign to recruit new volunteers across the East Midlands with research showing that volunteering by water is particularly good for a healthy mind and body.

As we begin 2022 we're on the lookout for people who want to give something back to their local community and make the most of the extra health and wellbeing benefits volunteering by water provides.

Here in the East Midlands we've got a wide variety of roles available to people with a range of skills. In particular we're looking for volunteer lock keepers on the River Trent, Boston Lock in Lincolnshire and locks on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Derbyshire and the Grand Union Canal in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. For the first time we're also recruiting a team of volunteer lock keepers on the Nottingham & Beeston Canal running through the city.

We're also appealing for people in the region to help with events and wellbeing activities, lead groups of other volunteers and join teams of Towpath Rangers helping to care for their local canal.

All roles can be found here.

Start planning for Crick

Britain's biggest inland waterways event is coming back to the region's waterways – with tickets for Crick Boat Show now on sale.

The event, which takes place at Crick Marina, near Daventry in Northamptonshire, will be held across the Bank Holiday Weekend celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee (3-5 June 2022).

More than 26,000 people are expected to visit the show, which is organised by Waterways World in association with the Trust and Crick Marina, over the course of the weekend.

With nearly 300 exhibitors, Crick Boat Show offers a fantastic day out with dozens of boats to view, free boat trips, free advice seminars on boat ownership, live music, children's activities, a real ale marquee, and a large variety of food and drink stalls.

Find out more here.


Kickstarting canal improvements in Nottingham

Young people in Nottingham are playing a leading role in caring for the city's waterways after beginning a six-month placement with us.

A brand new team of seven Kickstarters have joined the Trust and are working on a wide variety of projects to maintain and improve the Nottingham & Beeston Canal running through the city.

The team have made a great start helping to relay sections of towpath lifted by tree roots, installing new anti-slip surfacing on the Castle Wharf footbridge and even hauling a large industrial bin that had been causing an obstruction for boaters out of the canal.

The six-month positions were offered as part of the Kickstart initiative, a programme for young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment. The programme, which is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, supports young people to build up their experience and help them move into sustained employment after completing their Kickstart-funded role.

It follows the success of a similar project in Leicester last year which has seen six participants going on to gain apprenticeships with the Trust.

East Midlands Boaters Conference announced

We've finalised details of our annual East Midlands Boaters Conference taking place on Tuesday 5th April at Northampton University.

The conference has become a popular fixture on the calendar giving boaters in the region the opportunity to find out about plans for the year ahead, give their views and discuss the hot boating topics in the East Midlands.

After two years of virtual events we're looking to once more meeting boaters in person. Click here to book your place.

Cruising past moored boats Leicester Line Grand Union

Teamwork brings big improvements on the River Soar

Our Leicester Towpath Taskforce have joined forces with Green Circle Nature Regeneration to improve a section of the River Soar for boaters and local communities.

As part of the works the team have carried out a range of improvements on the section of river running between Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre and Thurcaston Road Bridge.

Boaters will notice the improvements in the area as the team spent time cutting back willow that was making it difficult to see along the river and reducing its width. This section of river, which is on a bend, now has a clear line of sight so that boaters can see which arch of the bridge to navigate through.

The team have also been hard at work raising the tree canopy along the towpath, again improving lines of sight between the bridges and making the towpath feel safer and more welcoming. The willow and other tree trimmings have been used to create dead-hedging in the area, providing valuable habitats for wildlife.

Special thanks go to Red Circle Angling Club who agreed for their land to be used for parking and storage and Leicester City Council Parks who gave permission to work on their land and provided some materials.

The area is now unrecognisable compared to a few months ago, and Red Circle has received numerous positive comments from people who have started to use the path again. One local parent has commented that she now uses the path to walk her son to school as he copes with school better as a result of being by the water each morning.

Volunteers on the River Soar

Last Edited: 18 February 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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