Volunteering on an international scale

It's International Volunteering Day on Friday and we're taking a look at what it's all about.

This Friday (5th December) is International Volunteering Day (IVD). It was established in 1985 by the United Nations through Resolution 40/212. IVD 2014 is a global celebration of volunteering, where people’s participation in making a difference at local, national and international levels is recognised.

Volunteers at Canal & River Trust take part in activities and projects where they can make a difference at a local and national level. For example our towpath taskforces make a huge difference in their local communities, whilst our National Hedgerow Survey and Canal Discharge Surveys have contributed to making a difference to the canals across the country.

IVD 2013 was a global celebration of young people acting as agents of change in their communities. In December 2013 Canal & River Trust made a pledge to inspire and support young people who benefit from and use our canals and rivers. Find out about what the young people we have engaged with have been getting up to.

Join in with International Volunteers' Day

The UN invites everyone to join them on Friday 5th December to recognise all volunteers’ commitment and applaud hundreds of millions of people who volunteer to make change happen.

If you’d like to make a difference in your area, please visit our volunteering pages and read all about the latest opportunities.

Volunteering highlights of 2014

This will be our last blog of 2014 so we’d like to take this opportunity to look back on some of the highlights of the year. One that stands out for Rebecca is the Volunteer Environmental Assistant who was based with the team in Leeds. Not only did Siobhan become an invaluable member of the team, she also won a number of awards from the University of Leeds for her placement with us. 

One of Amanda’s highlights has been working with the National Trust to develop our first joint volunteering initiative on The Roundhouse in Ladywood, Birmingham.

Situated alongside the Birmingham Canal Old Line, this horseshoe shaped Grade II* listed building was originally built for the Corporation of Birmingham as a mineral and coal wharf in the 1870s, and was used for storage and stabling. It has a fascinating history – its design was the result of a competition, and there are plans afoot to explore the possibility of turning this structure into an urban outdoors hub. And this is where volunteers come in – to truly understand this structure and make the most of its history and character, we need to research its history, something that our West Midlands’ heritage adviser does not have time to do (although she would love to!).

We were delighted with the response we received, and have been so grateful for the support from not only our researchers but also the team at the local archives who assisted with the induction. New findings and research is shared via a private Facebook group ahead of, we hope, a more public unveiling in 2015. We look forward to learning more of the history of the building, and this will help inform the plans that we develop with the National Trust.

Volunteering success

We’ve also been able to celebrate the success of some of our volunteers who, thanks to their time with Technical Teams in the Trust, have secured paid employment within the Trust or another organisation. Volunteering can often provide the elusive experience that employers are looking for on CVs, and with all our specialist teams the experience provided is invariably unique.

Sending you greetings for the festive season – see you in 2015!

Rebecca & Amanda



Last date edited: 17 March 2016

About this blog

Volunteer coordinator

Amanda is a volunteer coordinator for the Technical Team within the Trust. Whether it’s finding a student for a long-term placement with the environment team or assisting the hydrology team with a team of volunteers to count boat movements, she can be counted on to find the right people for the role. Amanda joined the Trust in July 2012 and previously worked as the Volunteer Leader in the East Midlands. She has worked at other charities in people engagement roles, but is at her happiest besides the water.

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