News article created on 10 September 2018

Mammoth maintenance task along Wigan Lock flight

We have taken on a mammoth maintenance task this summer, sprucing up the 21 locks and surrounding banks along the Wigan flight on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Wigan Lock volunteering Wigan Lock volunteering

Staff and volunteers have been out every weekday this August, and are continuing their efforts into September, doing all sorts of jobs, including painting, greasing and repairing lock gates and mechanisms, removing litter and graffiti, and cutting back sprawling vegetation.

They have been joined by a group of 13 young people from The Skills Company, which has joined up with the Trust’s Desmond Family Canoe Trail project to provide opportunities for youngsters to learn new skills and give something back to their local community.

In total, more than 637 volunteer hours have been given in August.

Vicki Birch, project leader for the Desmond Family Canoe Trail, said: "The regular volunteers and staff have been great at supporting these young people in getting involved in the hands-on work and helping them learn new skills. Everyone has been really impressed with their enthusiasm and the young people have thoroughly enjoyed doing something practical that benefits others."

Anthony McGovern, customer operations supervisor for the Trust, added: "The prolonged dry weather has thrown up many challenges across our waterways, and the resulting restrictions have given us the opportunity to carry out a lot of tasks that we might not otherwise have been able to do at this time of year.

"When the canal is fully accessible again boaters will notice a real difference, and the things we’ve been doing make the whole canal environment more attractive to those on the towpath too.

"We’re really grateful to all the volunteers who give up their time and work so hard to support us."