Get involved in restoration

All canal restoration projects are dependent on the passion and energy of local volunteers.

Towpath Taskforce volunteers Towpath Taskforce volunteers

Together with many waterway trusts and societies, we welcome volunteers who want to make a difference to their local area and get involved with our restoration work.

Opportunities are advertised on our website so if you are interested in becoming more involved in then please take a look at our volunteering pages or use our restoration map to find your nearest project and the relevant contact details.

Ways to get involved with restoration

Trustee - volunteers take on crucial roles within local groups as trustees, helping plan and deliver the restoration. Trustees deliver various roles including leading, publicising, coordinating volunteers, developing a website or tapping into their professional expertise. If you value your local canal or river and want a greater say in how it is restored, this could be an opportunity for you.

Technical/surveying - restoring a canal or river requires a number of technical studies. You could be involved in surveying the natural environment or assessing the condition of historic structures. While some surveys require specific skills, others only require enthusiasm.

Fundraising - local groups are dependent on raising money to restore the waterways. Volunteers are needed to organise fundraising events, writing grant applications or to look at commercial opportunities for the groups to make money to help pay for the restoration works.

Town planning permissions - restoring a waterway can take years. It’s important that the route is protected from other people building on it. There are opportunities available for all types of planning volunteers, including helping with research and surveying, lobbying for protection of the line of the canal, commenting on planning applications, negotiating with the local authority planning team and more.

Explorers education volunteer with childrenPromoting the heritage - the waterways, even if they no longer exist, are important to our heritage. Many volunteers are involved in telling the story of the waterways, making sure that our heritage isn’t lost. This can range from running a visitor center, developing trails and information leaflets, to going out into schools to get local children involved.

Work parties - local groups often have to maintain what remains of the waterway and do much of the restoration work themselves. Groups often organise work parties which attract a wide range of people, including young volunteers taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, waterway enthusiasts who wish to make a contribution to restoring and preserving the system, and people who just want to get outdoors and dirty, have fun and learn new skills. Local groups organise their own work parties but many of these are supported by the Waterway Recovery Group

Last date edited: 19 November 2020