News article created on 17 December 2021

Nottingham Canal volunteer nets top award

Together with Marsh Charitable Trust, is pleased to announce that a volunteer in Nottingham has been recognised in our annual volunteer awards which celebrate volunteer excellence along our waterways.

Woman holding nest Barbara with floating nesting platform

Awards are being given to teams and individuals across our waterways in England and Wales over the coming weeks, reflecting the fantastic range of volunteering that takes place. In the East Midlands, the award was given to Barbara Hillier who has been involved in over 20 volunteering opportunities on the city’s waterways and played a leading role in improving her local canals for people and wildlife.

About Barbara

Barbara, who is a keen boater, leads our regular Towpath Taskforce activities which enable members of the public to lend a hand in caring for their local waterways. She’s also helped to plant and care for wildflower meadows along the Nottingham & Beeston Canal, organised activities to remove invasive weeds, helped install signage and played an active role on the Nottingham Canal Improvement Partnership. Barbara even found the time to work with residents of Castle Marina during lockdown to create floating bird nesting platforms out of old life rings and other items found lying around the marina.  

Making a contribution

Phil Mulligan, our regional director, said: “Our volunteers make a tremendous contribution to the East Midlands’ waterways, bringing their skills and experience to a vast array of activities and tasks and enabling us to accomplish so much more. These national awards showcase the range of their talents and celebrate their enthusiasm, passion and sheer hard work. They are an inspiration and I offer my congratulations to them all.

“Judging the awards was really difficult but we were delighted to give the award to Barbara as she really has made a massive contribution on the city’s waterways. Barbara’s got tremendous drive and alongside all the work she’s done with us she’s taken the initiative to create new volunteering opportunities to make Nottingham’s waterways even more special for local communities. We’re so grateful for everything that Barbara does, she’s an outstanding volunteer and a really worthy winner of this award.”

A team effort

Speaking about her award, Barbara said: “I feel tremendously honoured to receive this award but it’s a team effort really and I have a great set of willing people around me. I’d like to thank the volunteering team at the Trust as I couldn’t do what I do without them.

“It’s so lovely to be able to pursue my passion with water and get so much back from it. The more you do, the more you realise there is to do. The Trust provides so many different opportunities for me to feel satisfied and, in my experience, they really know how to treat their volunteers well. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Join the team

Christine Mellor, our head of volunteering said: “Volunteers are incredibly important to the Trust. The past 18 months have been challenging, with the coronavirus pandemic affecting volunteering, and I was so thankful to see our volunteers back in force as the restrictions eased.

"We are reaching out to communities to act now for canals and have this opportunity to recognise some of our volunteers who have made such a significant contribution in maintaining the beauty of our waterways. I'd encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering for the Trust to get in touch, there are so many opportunities on our website in your local area. Come along and get involved!”

Celebrating the achievements

Brian Marsh OBE, chair at the Marsh Charitable Trust, said: “We are pleased to be able to work with the Canal and River Trust once again to deliver these Awards, recognising those who give their time to volunteer on our nation’s waterways, enhancing their heritage and supporting the wellbeing of those that use them. This year we have been able to celebrate the achievements of more volunteers, both individuals and teams, across six regions of the UK and we hope to continue to highlight these invaluable commitments in years to come.”