C hildren from the West End of Glasgow have helped launch a campaign to recruit an army of volunteers to care for Scotland’s canals.
Volunteers turned out to repair mortar and operate locks on the Forth & Clyde Canal at Maryhill Locks during Volunteer Week 2016 as part of the ‘Canal volunteers’ project.
People with spare time are being encouraged to make friends, learn new skills and help ensure the nation’s biggest linear park continues to welcome millions of cyclists, walkers, boaters, kayakers and anglers each year.
The campaign aims to recruit 100 volunteers to give their time to safeguarding an important environment for people and wildlife.
Volunteers from Dell joined pupils from Kelvindale and St Mary’s Primary Schools to call for engineers, stone masons and joiners as well as lock keepers, archivists, marketing specialists and environmental experts to step forward and offer a few hours, evenings or weekends to help preserve the nation’s 250-year-old heritage assets.
A partnership between Scottish Canals, the Scottish Waterways Trust and the Lowland Canals Volunteer Group, ‘Canal volunteers’ will build on many years of volunteering success by putting volunteers at the heart of Scottish Canals’ repair and maintenance programme for many years to come.
Steve Dunlop, CEO of Scottish Canals, said: “Scotland’s canals contribute hugely to the nation’s economic, social and environmental prosperity. They also run through some of the country’s most densely populated communities.
“As such, it’s only right that local people are involved in safeguarding them for future generations to enjoy whilst learning new skills, getting outdoors and meeting new people.”
Scottish Canals currently works with a handful of volunteers each year who do litter picking, lock keeping and citizen science, while The Scottish Waterways Trust, a charity that aims to create brighter futures for people and places across Scotland’s canals, works with 800 volunteers delivering 14,000 volunteer hours per year.
Tracey Peedle, Development Director of the Scottish Waterways Trust, said: “Through volunteering, people can really make a difference to the environment and heritage of their local canal.”
The Lowland Canals Volunteer Group, which has been running since 2010 and was set up to harness the power of volunteering, has a history of contributing to the long-term sustainability of Scotland’s canals.
Ronnie Rusack, Chair of the Lowland Canals Volunteer Group and one of the people credited with helping to re-open the Lowland canals in 2002.
He said: “The needs of the canals are varied and ever changing and we need a steady stream of volunteers who can safeguard one of our nation’s greatest assets.”
Anyone interested in volunteering along Scotland’s canals should register via https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/canal-volunteers/