The charity making life better by water

Volunteering our thanks

To mark Volunteers’ Week, we’d like to give our thanks to the many thousands of volunteers who make your support for the work of Canal & River Trust go so much further. By giving up their time and putting in so much hard work every day, volunteers help us maintain miles of canals for everyone to enjoy.

Volunteers planting plants along the towpath in Birmingham

The theme for this year's Volunteers Week is ‘A time to say thanks' and, after the year we've had, every single one of our volunteers certainly deserves our gratitude.

It's quite remarkable that, even in the midst of a pandemic, volunteers still willingly came forward and contributed 236,000 volunteering hours to complete essential tasks on canals in 2020, where it was safe to do so.

Of course, that's a big difference from the 704,000 hours volunteers gave us in 2019, but that's because we had to ask so many volunteers to stay safe at home at numerous times over the year, even though in many cases people were still eager to come out and help.

In recent weeks, we've warmly welcomed many of our volunteers back to the towpath and we're still looking for more. So if any of these stories inspire you, please take a look at the wide range of roles and the many volunteering opportunities we still have available.

Karen's story

After suffering with her physical and mental health while fighting severe illness, Karen found a path back to fitness, confidence and contentment, by working to clean up her local canal for people and wildlife.

Ralph's Story

Becoming a volunteer lock keeper at Knowle Locks near Solihull was the perfect way for a people-person like Ralph to ease his way into retirement. He loves how friendly the canals can be and that people so often appreciate the help he gives.

Prof. Rashid Gatrad OBE

This amazing consultant paediatrician was a well-known figure in Walsall before he formed World Against Single Use Plastic (WASUP) a few years ago and inspired an army of local volunteers. They have helped us clean up at least 20 canal sites in the West Midlands in recent years.

Colin's Story

Sadly Colin was recently widowed, but always remembered how his wife encouraged the volunteering day he spent on the canal. Even in the depths of grief he learned that a few hours of steady work by the canal could help him regain his strength and spirit.

We hope these stories show how much we appreciate our volunteers for the amazing work they do. And you, for the support you're helping to give to our volunteers.


Last Edited: 02 June 2021

photo of a location on the canals
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