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News article created on 6 October 2015

Volunteers needed to help care for historic Trent & Mersey Canal in Derbyshire

We're looking for volunteers who don’t mind getting their hands dirty to help look after the Trent & Mersey Canal in Derbyshire.

Towpath Taskforce volunteers Towpath Taskforce volunteers

We're launching new Towpath Taskforce sessions on the canal, encouraging people to come out, get stuck in and help protect some of Derbyshire’s most important industrial heritage and wildlife habitat. The Taskforce provides regular volunteering opportunities and aims to bring significant benefits to the canal and nearby communities.

The first session for the South Derbyshire Towpath Taskforce takes place from 10am on Friday 9th October at Swarkestone Lock. Volunteers are needed to give the area, including a historic canalside crane which would have been used for loading and unloading freight barges, a fresh lick of paint. The volunteers’ efforts will help to smarten up the area, which is popular with boaters and walkers.

The team will meet every other Friday and the sessions are open to all ages and abilities. Projects will take place along the canal in Derbyshire, between Shardlow and Burton-on-Trent. Activities can be shaped by the volunteers themselves and could include painting lock gates, improving access to the towpath, clearing overgrown vegetation, cleaning up litter and graffiti and helping wildlife by building nest and bat boxes.

The beauty of Towpath Taskforces is that they are totally flexible and people can fit their volunteering around their busy lifestyles. Tom Freeland

Tom Freeland, volunteer coordinator for the Canal & River Trust, said; “The Trent & Mersey Canal is a real local gem but we need some help to make sure that it stays an attractive and enjoyable place for people, and wildlife, to visit.

“The beauty of Towpath Taskforces is that they are totally flexible and people can fit their volunteering around their busy lifestyles. Those interested in taking part are able to just turn up on the day and help for as little or as long as they can.

“We’re not looking for any special skills or experience, we just want people who really care about their local area and aren’t afraid of rolling their sleeves up. The sessions are lots of fun and a great opportunity to meet people so we hope people in Derbyshire will come along and give it a go.”

If you are interested in joining the task force you can register in advance with tom.freeland@canalrivertrust.org.uk or you can just turn up on the day. The first session takes place from 10am on Friday 9th October at Swarkestone Lock, off Pingle Lane DE73 3GN.

Volunteers are asked to wear suitable outdoor clothing which they don’t mind getting dirty and sturdy boots. All the tools and equipment will be provided.