New monthly ‘Towpath Taskforce' teams launch this week with practical taster days happening all over the waterway network encouraging people to come out, get their hands dirty and help protect some of our most important industrial heritage.
The Towpath Taskforce teams will provide regular practical volunteering opportunities and aim to bring significant benefits to waterside communities and the waterways themselves, most of which are between 200-250 years old. The teams will also help to preserve important wildlife habitats for the hundreds of different species which feed and nest on the waterways.
Massive rise in volunteering
Edd Moss, national volunteering manager for the Canal & River Trust says: “We've seen a massive rise in volunteering over the last four years and we want to provide easy opportunities for people to turn up to with no previous experience, meet existing volunteers and learn about other opportunities to get involved. We have volunteers from all walks of life who donate their time to us to get some exercise and help keep their local waterside community looking tidy because they recognise how important their local canals and rivers are.
“Previously we've held annual Towpath Tidy events – however, these new Towpath Taskforce teams are designed to be regular, accessible and engaging so local communities can take on more ownership of their local waterway. One event a year can make a dent, but regular volunteer efforts will make a real difference to the thousands of people that use and visit them each week. There will be a variety of tasks specific to the need of the individual waterway and there's always something to suit everyone.”
The Towpath Taskforce teams will undertake regular physical works on the towpath including painting lock gates, improving access to the towpath, clearing overgrown vegetation, cleaning up litter and graffiti.
Edd continues: “The waterways are a resource which we can all benefit from and by helping support these Towpath Taskforce teams, the public can help bring a wealth of added benefits to the daily maintenance work our specialist teams do. Most of all, by getting involved, more people will appreciate their local waterway and help provide a lasting legacy that we can all be proud of so I'd encourage people to get in touch and find out how they can get involved.”