News article created on 10 May 2016

Volunteers donate record amount of time

Volunteers have given a record amount of time to help us care for the nation’s historic waterways over the past year.

Volunteers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Volunteers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Volunteers gave 481,722 hours over the course of the last financial year, up 17% on the year before. Encouragingly there was an increase in the amount of time given by people aged 16-24. This impressive rise represents the work of 2,674 directly recruited volunteers and over 320 groups.

Headline figures include:

  • Volunteering has a financial value of £7.6 million using Heritage Lottery Fund rates
  • Practical work, including essential maintenance such as upgrading towpaths, painting and environmental improvement, remains the most common form of volunteering accounting for 53% of the time, followed by customer services at 24%
  • Young volunteers contributed 36,197 hours (7%) either directly or through a group that has worked with the Trust
    147 adoption partnerships and six A Million Hands 'pocket adoptions' in partnership with the Scouts Association
  • Volunteers made possible a formal education programme that reached 64,000 children and young people and is highly valued by teachers and education professionals
  • 88% of volunteers would recommend volunteering at the Trust 

Over the next year we are aiming to make even more of a difference through volunteering. For example the we are currently training 800 people to help as volunteer lock keepers at over 100 places across England and Wales.

Richard Parry, chief executive at Canal & River Trust, said: “I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has given their time so generously over the past year. Volunteers bring so much passion and enthusiasm to the waterways and make a significant contribution to the work we do. 

"There are too many fantastic projects to list, from the communities tackling invasive plants on their doorsteps to the friendly faces you’ll see working many of our locks to our team of education volunteers inspiring the next generation. This was also the first year volunteers and communities were actively involved in our emergency response work, playing a vital part in helping waterways recover from the devastation of the Boxing Day floods.

“I’m especially pleased to see many young people getting involved. Our mission is to protect our canals and rivers for the next hundred years and that is something that will lie in the hands of those who are getting to know and love the waterways now."