The Grantham Canal Heritage Initiative is a partnership between Canal & River Trust, Grantham Canal Society, National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Waterway Recovery Group.
Over the last 12 months The Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) have been supporting the restoration of lock 14 through their canal camps. We caught up with Kirsty, a WRG volunteer who has been involved with the restoration of both locks 14 and 15.
Volunteering is something that gives back to the community and people who use the canals. I started going on canal boat holidays when I was just two weeks old. When all my school friends were going on holiday overseas I was on the canal with my parents. I appreciate canals because that’s where I spent my holidays and learnt to boat handle, I have so many happy memories there. I absolutely love volunteering and I love canals so putting the two together and volunteering to restore canals made perfect sense. It means I can give something back that I enjoy.
Volunteering has definitely made me a better person. It’s made me who I am and I would say I’m now a more confident person. It’s different working with people who aren’t being paid for what they do and if I could volunteer everyday then I would. I’ve become more sociable since I began volunteering and made so many new friends and I’ve also gained life experience too.
I’ve been volunteering for many years now and my favourite thing is getting to see things finished. I started volunteering on lock 15 when the investigation works were being carried out around 4 years ago. The lock was then pulled down and I’ve seen it going from its bare shell to being rebuilt and then fully restored and it gives me so much pleasure and pride knowing that I’ve helped to restore something which is so important to the canal network.
A lot of people use the waterways, not just boaters but dog walkers, cyclists etc so it benefits everyone. Every time you walk along the towpath it encourages people to think about the heritage, ask questions, and maybe even visit other waterways.
Restoring waterways also benefits people by opening up green spaces that are accessible to everyone. Towpaths are an ideal place to take a walk and the work we do by opening them up, making them accessible and safe is really beneficial to people’s health; physical, mental and emotional. Towpaths are traffic free so a good 30 minute walk down a towpath is a great stress buster and burns off calories as well.
Restoration is so important because the waterways have been here for over 200 years and in order for them to still be here in another 200 years’ time then it’s vital for volunteers to go on restoring all these really important assets such as locks and bridges so other people can go on enjoying the waterways for generations to come.
Last date edited: 8 October 2019