News article created on 17 January 2020

Volunteer lock keepers needed for Yorkshire's canals

Volunteers are being sought to help care for 12 locks on the Aire & Calder and Sheffield & South Yorkshire navigations.

Lock on Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation, courtesy of Steve F

We had a record number of people volunteering throughout our network last year. This year, we have added more volunteering roles to meet the growing demand from people wishing to spend time helping to care for our waterways in Yorkshire.

Lock keeper roles are on offer at the following locations: Pollington, Whitley, Castleford/Bulholme, Kings Road near Methley, Woodnook and Birkwood Bramwith Lock, Doncaster Lock, Sprotbrough Lock (Doncaster), Mexborough Top Lock and Swinton (Waddington Lock).

Louise Linley, volunteer coordinator at Canal & River Trust, is leading the Yorkshire region’s volunteer lock keeper recruitment campaign. She said: “Volunteer lock keepers are the ‘face of the canals’, it’s a vital role within our charity and a great opportunity for anyone who likes spending time outside and talking to people.”

Among their duties, volunteer lock keepers help boaters through locks and operate mechanical bridges, as well as talking to people about what’s happening on their local waterways and sprucing up the space around the lock.

The Trust is also recruiting volunteers for other roles to suit people with different skills and from different backgrounds. These include:

Wellbeing Ambassadors – this new role for Sheffield, will activate the canal towpath by helping to coordinate and host activities by the water, from guided walks to edible plant talks and more.

Standedge Tunnel & Visitor Centre – get to know Britain’s longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel located in stunning countryside. One of Yorkshire’s most unique visitor attractions is looked after by the Trust, will a range of volunteer roles on offer including tunnel chaperones. 

Towpath Rangers – they also play a crucial role in welcoming visitors to the waterways, as well as helping out with maintenance and vegetation along the towpath, creating attractive spaces and running events along the towpath.

Explorers – these volunteers work with schools to teach pupils about anything and everything canal-related, inspiring the next generation of waterway-lovers. They can also take part in running activities on the towpath and at a range of festivals and events.